Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thank God

i am thanking God for so much as we finish up this year. i am especially thanking God that it is over! this year has been, by far, one of the most challenging years for me. there were some serious low lows and some amazing high highs. i have tried very hard not to be down in the dump the whole year, but saying good bye to Charlotte right after the year started, was really rough. peter and i were able to grow so much closer together, we spent great time with our friends and family, we moved across the country, found an awesome new church, and have started making new friends (in fact we are having about 20 people over tonight...i bought a chocolate fountain!). 

i was really hoping that this less than ideal year would end with us finding out we were such luck. this week has been difficult with not spending the holidays with family, and the disappointment of a negative pregnancy test, and then starting my period was a big blow. i really thought that it would happen. i thought that we could finish the year on a high note. i thought that we would have some hope while we celebrate Charlotte's birthday next week. i dont understand why it is not happening for us. i try to tell myself that everything will happen when God whats it to, just how He wants it to, but that is not always easy to swallow. 

i will always cherish this year...Charlotte's year...for all that i have learned and grown through. i am so honored that God chose us for this journey, even though it is not easy. i am so thankful for the people that i have met and have helped me grow. i am especially grateful to God for bringing lisa into my life. i  have learned so much from her this year! i just know that Charlotte and Jaxton are best friends in heaven, just like their mommies down here. i am so excited about all that God is doing in and through lisa's life because of her faithfulness through the tests of life! i hope that the same can be said of me.

today i am looking forward...knowing that God is still right here, leading me and directing me. this year the only resolution i am making is to be aware each day of what God is doing in my life, to not forget all that we have been given and blessed with. i am going to look for the daily opportunities to share what God has given me with those around me. 

"God, thank you for this year. thank you for our time, though too short, with our sweet baby girl. i am trusting you with this next year. i know that you have so much for us...please make that plan abundantly clear. thank you for providing not only a new job for both of us, but a beautiful home, a growing church, many new friends, and the health of our family. thank you for the constant reminders that You are in control. please help me keep my eyes open to the needs around me. please help not become so consumed with my own life that i miss out on what You have for me. You have promised me the desires of my heart, help me remember that You know the best timing for all of those things! God, thank you for the countless blessings, especially the gift salvation through Your Son. thank you! Amen"

Romans 5:2-5 And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 

i pray that you feel the love of God all through the next good times and bad!

blessings, ALo

Happy New Year from the Loesers! (one of our Christmas card photos)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Christmas time!

i cant believe Christmas is already here! the last few weeks have been crazy around here and it seems everything just kinda crept up on me. peter and i do not exchange gifts with each other, so that helps with my anxiety level this time of year. in fact, we do not give gifts with anyone. instead, we give more to missions and/or families in real need. we love that part. this year, we gave to community of faith's (our church here in houston) best gift. best gift is a special offering that happens the week before Christmas. all the money collected goes right into the mission efforts through our church. the church wide goal was 1.5 million dollars. sounds crazy, huh? but our church is so giving and truly wants to help those in need. the students (grades 6-12) were going for a goal of $9,000 to help start a little girls home in india. if you are interested here is a short video about why we are starting a home...more after the video. watch out, i cry every time i watch it!!

COF is starting a home for these babies girls that are rescued. they will be given everything that they should have been given by their families. they will also, one day, be adopted by Godly parents who want to love them and raise them up to be amazing women of God. the COF students gave just under $7000 to start this home. we are so excited! the offering continues all year (depending on your pledge) so we are expecting a big God size blessing for these little girls and all our missions through COF. peter and i have decided to do a few cut backs on some of our "normal" spending to continue to give to india. my heart breaks when i think about little girls being left out to die just because they are not boys. maybe one day our house will have a little indian girl...! we are praying about what all God wants for us.

the house in india is just one of several mission projects that COF has. there is the home in honduras, casa de esther, for girls rescued from sex trafficking; a children's home in costa rica; a church in cancun, rural work in oaxaca, mexico; missionaries and pastors in burundi, africa, working with the "forgotten people" the batawa...these are just the ones coming to mind right now. i love that we are a part of a church so focused on meeting needs here in houston and all over the world. i know that i have talked some about this before, but it all really does my heart good. what better gift to give at Christmas than the gift of life?!?!

i hope that you all have a very blessed Christmas eve!

blessings, ALo

ps. if you do not have plans for a Christmas eve services, check out one of COFs! last nights was awesome!!! we have them today at 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, and midnight. the 5 and 7pm services will be streaming live on the internet at :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Not too bad

today i did something i was scared to do. i had been listening to satan telling me that i wasnt ready, that i couldnt do it. but in the end i was "fine". 

a few weeks back, one of my new friends here in houston confided me that she was pregnant. it was still very early on, so i was asked not to tell any one. (my friend has not been able to tell everyone yet, so for this post i will call her "friend"...all of this is done with her permission...dont worry!) so, anyway, friend is now most of the way through her first trimester and was scheduled for an ultrasound. when i saw her last night, with only her husband around, i stopped to see how things were going. she told me that she was set to have her first ultrasound today, but that she was going to have to go alone. friend moved here not too long ago and does not have family in the area. her hubby could not get off work, and someone else that she asked really needed to be at their job too. when i heard that, i heard myself saying "do you want me to go with you?" oh my. what did i just do? i knew that if our calculations were right, then friend would be very close to 12 weeks along, which would make this ultrasound the same one where we found out that something was wrong with our Charlotte. for whatever reason, i still felt like i was supposed to be there for and with friend. i have been praying for her ever since i found out she was pregnant. i know that if the roles were reversed, she would do the exact same for me. i was feeling pretty anxious when we pulled into the parking lot, but i prayed for peace from God and that i would be a comfort to friend. i didnt want to be a downer, but an encouragement. the ultrasound went great. friend was so excited and i was so excited for her!! the heartbeat was perfect...we called her hubby and left him a voicemail with the cool. the baby looked good...nothing abnormal!!! perfect! the baby is measuring smaller than the first initial calculations, but that was not a surprise to the doctor. friend and her hubby were not "trying" to get pregnant, so calculations may be a little off :) the measurements said 10 weeks and 6 days, so not all of the tests (ie. nuchal translucency test) could be done. friend will have to go back in 2 weeks for another ultrasound. thankfully, she could schedule it for when her husband could go too!

i really have been dreading going back into an ultrasound room. there has been so much fear, disappointment, and sadness associated in those rooms for me. i am so glad that i was able to go today. i am thankful that friend let me be a part of this special day with her. i am so glad that i was not deceived by the devil into thinking i couldnt do it. i did think about Charlotte. i talked about her a lot. but, not just in sadness and fear. i was able to share my experience as an encouragement and was able to be helpful. i am so proud of who i am becoming because of my short time with my baby girl. i am stronger, wiser, more compassionate, and more hopeful. i am blessed to know that our Creator is working and blessing me, friend, and baby friend. 

my time will come again, hopefully soon, to carry another baby, but in the meantime i am ok with being the friend that gets to be a part of what God is doing in your lives! i am so thankful!

blessings, ALo

Monday, December 5, 2011

Stinkin' Cramps

i have 'em. which means, well, you know what that means. i was super emotional yesterday...really disappointed. on top of the obvious, my cramps the last two days have been awful. i understand that this is all part of the curse (thanks, adam and eve), but sometimes it is just a little overwhelming.

last week on wednesday, peter and i fasted. i think that i have only truly fasted one other time. i usually give up other things like t.v. or internet. not eating all day was not too bad until the end of the day. fasting was actually really good for me. i spent so much time in prayer. praying for peter, praying for our ministry at COF, praying for the missionaries that we support, praying for our marriage, praying for the students that i am around each week, praying for our many things. peter and i are asking for God's wisdom on the next steps in all aspects of our lives. for me, i am specifically praying for patience in waiting for what God has for our family. i get so disappointed, even when i tell myself i am not going to. i get so frustrated, even though i tell myself i am not going to. oh...the vicious cycle i go through...thanks, satan! i am praying about that too...not allowing satan to have a foothold on my thoughts and emotions. i know that we all fight a daily battle with him...and lately i have allowed him to win more than he should. not this week!!

tonight, i have thought about Charlotte so much! last week we got an invitation in the mail from the hospital to attend a Christmas candle light service in remembrance of her. when i called to tell them that we had moved and would not be there, the chaplain asked how things were going and if i was expecting again. anyway....!!!! apparently they are going to send us an ornament that we would have received that night. Charlotte's first Christmas. i bet her celebration will be so awesome in Heaven...big birthday party for Jesus's earthly b-day!!! just typing this i cant event put down all that i am thinking and feeling. on one hand i am happy that she is in heaven, with a perfect body, no sickness, and praising her Creator. on the other hand, i so badly want her here. i want her to be here for our Christmas card pictures tomorrow night. i want to watch her "open" presents and scoot around on the floor by the tree. i want to experience all the baby's first Christmas stuff. so, not being pregnant yet, makes that even more upsetting sometimes.

there is a plan...i am more than confident of that! God is working in me and through me! tonight, i am holding steadfastly to that promise! praying that He makes His plans clear. wishing i could hear His audible voice...that would be helpful!! :)

thanks for praying with us!!

Merry Christmas! :) its never too early!!!

blessings, ALo

Sunday, December 4, 2011

All in a day's work

Wow...i am exhausted!!! i know that i have not blogged in a while, but right after thanksgiving, my job kicked into high gear! my job title is COF Students Event and Programming Director. basically, i am in charge of coordinating special events and helping with details for the weekend services. this past friday (12/2) our student team pulled off our first big middle school event since jason and i have been on staff. MAD House was from light party with indoor dodgeball, photo booth, dj and dance floor, graffiti wall, VIP lounge (VIPs also came in limos), and a cafe. we had 202 sixth through eighth graders and somewhere around 25 to 30 volunteers. it was AWESOME!!! i have heard nothing but good things about the event, which makes me so happy. our team did an amazing job! we all worked great and got it done! thursday night before the event, we had to clear the worship center of all chairs and communion tables (about 2000 chairs and 12 tables) after our monthly thursday night worship night. on friday, after our event, we had to clean and reset the worship center for church services on saturday night. there is NO WAY that we could have pulled this (or any part of the event) off without our AMAZING volunteers! they came early, stayed late, ate cold pizza, and in the end were still smiling by the end of it all. i am so blessed to work with people who love to do this along with us!

this weekend we had church services as usual. our TeamBringIt is all pretty whipped, but so glad that we could hang with students, be silly and show that church is fun!

thanks to all who have been praying for this event, my new job, our is all greatly appreciated! i am so blessed!!!

hope you all have a great week...i am going to bed!! :)

blessings, ALo

ps. can you believe that i have no pics from MAD House or thanksgiving??? i dont know what happened! :( sad!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


this is the big day...thanksgiving!!! thanksgiving is actually at the top of my favorite holiday lists. i love that it is not as crazy chaotic as christmas, but family still gets together, its a beautiful time of year with all the colors (did you know that i love orange and red?), and we get to eat all this crazy awesome good food! this year was the first for me to host. i have had my mom, little bro nate, peter's sister laura, and her husband bob, peter and myself around the, laughing, making a fire pit, reading, and relaxing. i miss those who are not here, both friends and family!

this year i am so thankful, for so many things. i have really enjoyed taking time (almost) each day thinking about what i am thankful for. i am so blessed!

a year ago at this time, we were in michigan giving thanks with my family. we had recently found out that Charlotte was sick. we were pretty torn up and not sure what to do. this year, looking back, i am so thankful for the decisions that we made for our little girl. i am so thankful for the time that we had with her. i am sad today that she is not here...that we are down a high chair at the table this year, but i am so thankful for the 22 weeks that she was with us. we will be so thankful when we get to see her again.

looking forward, we are so excited about all that God has in store for us! we are really loving texas, our church, and our new friends! we are so thankful for all that has happened and we are looking forward to this next year!!

may God richly bless each of you! may we all be thankful everyday for every blessing!!


blessings, ALo

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


two today!!

yesterday i was thankful for chick-fil-a. i seriously love that place!!! it is one of the few fast food places that i dont feel like getting sick after eating there! plus, the price it totally right! :)

today i am thankful for helpful hands! my sister-in-law laura has been a huge help in the kitchen this week! i am not sure that i could pull off thanksgiving without her. bob, laura's hubby, has also done his share around the fact, he and peter built a fire pit in the backyard this afternoon!!! i am thankful for fire pits!!

now, everyone needs to come pit and dessert, what else could you want?

i am thankful that my mom, little bro nate, laura, and bob are here to celebrate thanksgiving with us!

have a very happy too much!! :)

blessings, ALo

Monday, November 21, 2011


today, day 21, i am thankful for my mom's spaghetti recipe! :) we ate good tonight!! :)

just gearing up for turkey day! :)

blessings, ALo

Sunday, November 20, 2011


wow...i have not been this tired at 8:30pm in a long time!!

yesterday i was thankful for my husband's willingness to do house projects...and to save us a lot of money!! peter got up on some borrowed scaffolding to change a fan/fixture in the living room and the light fixture in the foyer. both ceilings are very high (about 25 feet) and the electricians were going to charge us $1100 to do the job. thank you, peter!! love you!!

today i am thankful for thanksgiving week! i cant wait to have some family and friends gathered at our home!! here is to hoping that i get everything done!! :)

praying for my sweet friends, robin and blake! today would have been their baby bean's 1st birthday. i was blessed to be with them today to set off balloon messages and gather a few leaves from the tree they planted in his memory. i love this glad that baby nash is here to celebrate this year!! makes me miss Charlotte!!!

blessings, ALo

Friday, November 18, 2011


another two-a-day! this week has just been super busy, but in a good way! yesterday i got to hang out with my friend/work buddy/partner in crime, etc. rachel and i laughed and talked and ate and drove to huntsville, tx, and went to women of cof study. we were literally together for 13.5 hours! i am so thankful for not just a great work partner, but a good friend. it is so fun because our sense of humor is pretty similar, we both love gospel music, and our husbands get along great!!! love ya, rach! its k, as in know!! :)

today i am thankful for football...not just any football...texas high school football! i have been a fan of the show friday night lights for a long time and have been pretty sad since the show ended. tonight i experienced the real deal!!! cy woods, one of several big high schools in our district, was playing katy high school tonight. we have quite a few guys in our high school ministry from cy woods, it was being played at the berry center (a 9,000+ person stadium and it was sold out), katy is ranked #1 in the state of texas and #6 in the nation...needless to say our TeamBringIt was super excited about going. we didnt get there until half time because of an awesome dinner at church with our international team, but the last half was really exciting! cy woods ended up loosing, but it was still a really great game and so fun to be a part of! i wish that my little bro, nate, had been here to go with me...he would have loved it. it was so fun to be there with our whole team (jason, blake, rachel and me) and so many of our awesome students! i am so blessed!

i am off to hang with my cool sister-in-law and new(ish) brother-in-law. laura (peter's sister) and bob (her hubby) got here tonight to spend the week with us for thanksgiving. we are all looking forward to just relaxing on the couch and hanging out!! cant wait for my mom and nate to get here on wedenesday!!

have a great weekend!!

blessings, ALo

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


i didnt blog yesterday, but not because i wasnt thankful for just got to be very late too soon! yesterday i was thankful for my big comfy couch!! peter and i babysat for jason (the youth pastor) and jacqueline's kids (caylem 6 and caylee 2). our friends, rachel and amos and their little boy, levi (2) came over too. by the end of the night we were all piled on the couch, chillin!! i am thankful for my new, big, comfy couch!!!

today i am thankful for God's protection and blessing of safety!!! i was involved in a minor car accident today...thankfully no one was hurt and there was not serious damage to the vehicles, but i was still pretty shaken up by it! jason (the college/young adult/foundations pastor) and gena and their family of five kids are in the process of moving. i asked jason the other day if i could help out and we agreed that me taking the kids for a while would be good for jason and gena and fun for me. i had been looking forward to it for a few days!! this morning, when i saw jason in the gym, he had warned me that his kids loved to play jokes and pranks on people. in fact, yesterday the prank they were pulling last for over an hour on someone else! so, being warned, i was ready for anything with these crazy kids! i went to the house to get the kids right after school, switched cars with jason (i can not legally carry five kids in my 4runner, so i took their expedition) and then we were off to the dollar store for snacks before going to see the movie "puss in boots". as we were leaving the dollar store, we were t-boned in the parking lot. the other driver did not look for oncoming traffic before pulling out! :( thankfully, neither of us were going fast. unfortunately, he hit us on the passenger side back seat door...right where jacob was sitting (i think jacob is 7). he must have been pretty shaken up because he quickly traded places with one of his older brothers once we were stopped. i called jason immediately to ask him to come up to the parking lot to help me deal with the situation. the accident happened right in front of a home depot, and as it turned out, jason was right inside that home depot buying paint for the new house. i know that it was not a coincidence...God was just looking out for my sanity by not making me wait long for help! by the time the police came (which was apparently not needed because a parking lot is private property) and everything was sorted out, we had missed too much of the movie. so, we decided that i would take the kids over to a fast food restaurant for dinner while jason finished up at home depot. while pulling into the restaurant, i hear alyssa (the youngest, 6) say, "oh, no!! my gatorade is spilling all over me!!" oh great!!! not just any was red...and it was all over her clothes, the seat, and the floorboard!! poor thing, she did not want to get out of the car. her brothers kept telling her that it looked like she peed her pants. :( wow...what an afternoon! gena called me to tell me not to worry about it...that the kids were fine, that the clothes and car could be washed, and that the kids still wanted to see the movie with me! these kids were so great through the whole thing!! the oldest, caleb (12) was such a big help with the younger kids! by the end of dinner, the kids were cracking jokes about everything that had happened. we even joked about this being a bad prank. they cant wait to see what i can pull off on our next outing! :) i am so thankful that both jason and gena were gracious and understanding about the situation! i am sooooo thankful that no one was hurt!!!

i promise that i am a good driver and responsible when put in charge of was just not a good example! :) here's to hoping my road trip tomorrow with rachel goes much better!!!

blessings, ALo

Monday, November 14, 2011


i am so thankful for people who are passionate about ministry!!

this week will be such an encouragement to me!!!

at church, we (Cofteambringit, our student leadership team) are teaching the foundations class. foundations is kinda like an internship program. they have classes, serve/volunteer in all the different areas of the church, workout (the strengthen their physical cool) etc. they are such an awesome group of people who are passionate about the things going on in church ministry. it will be so fun to be in class helping them understand why we do what we do with the students.

this week, COF is having their annual "serve the world" weekend at church. i am looking forward to meeting the COF staff from around the world and hearing what God is doing in their ministries. this will include people from mexico, costa rica, africa, and right here in the u.s. we will have several opportunities to worship, chat, and pray with them. i cant wait to see what encouragement i walk away with after interacting with these amazing leaders!

tonight, peter and i had the opportunity to meet with kim and brett. they are new staff with campus crusade for christ (cru) and will be heading to LSU in the next few weeks to help college students grow and develop their relationship with the Lord. they are so excited about what God is calling them to do and about being a part of an organization dedicated to mentoring college students and growing their faith. peter and i are excited to be a part of their "ministry team" and to encourage them in prayer! we are praying the rest of their financial support comes in soon so that they are more than ready to start the semester in baton rouge in january!

today also makes me think of my friend, elizabeth, and her husband steve, who serve with athletes in action (aia). if you have been following my blog for a while, then you know that elizabeth started a battle with cancer the beginning of the year. right now, she is cancer free and we are praising God for that!!! i am so encouraged by elizabeth and steve. while she is very real about what she feels and what she is going through, this has not stopped either of them from following God and helping student athletes in their relationship with God. in the midst of some very serious heartache, they did not back down from their passion for serving others!

thank you, Lord, for using people's unique gifts and talents in different ways to reach so many people, even if it means stepping out of their comfort zone!!

i am praying for the foundations class, for COF staff around the world, for kim and brett, and for steve and elizabeth...that they will all be encouraged to continue in what God has called them to do. praying for God to guide each of their steps toward those who need Him and praying that God will bless each of them in all that they do!!

blessings, ALo

Sunday, November 13, 2011


on the 13th i am thankful for low key date nights at home! after a long weekend at church and running around erranding (is that a word??), we decided to have pizza and chill out on the couch tonight!! the last few hours have been awesome! :), leftover brownies, re-runs on hulu...and time with my best friend!!!

so blessed and so thankful!!!

I LOVE DATE any form! :)

blessings, ALo

ps. growing up we used to have "grands" cinnamon rolls for breakfast and pizza for dinner, every sunday!!! i love traditions like that! cant wait to do stuff like that with my kids!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


today i am so thankful for random acts of kindness! i love to do them for other people, but i am always so grateful when i am on the recieving end of them...especially when it involves food!

the last (just over a) week at work has been pretty stressful for a few reasons that i dont want to get into here. tonight, after our saturday night service, our student team and our spouses went to dinner together to just hang out and relax together. there was another staff family at the same restaurant. we had all said hello when our team got there, and when they were finished with their meal, they stopped our table of 10 to say hey/goodbye on their way out. a few minutes later 4 desserts showed up at our table (plus 2 kids ice creams for the little ones)!!! i mean, these were some SERIOUS desserts...molten chocolate cake with ice cream and chocolate cookie paradise pie with ice cream!!! there was a napkin note that said "to the greatest staff in town! you are blessed!" thanks to jason and gena for showing your love with awesome desserts!! i am going to pay for all the sweets in the gym on monday, but it was worth a few bites tonight!! :)

this has been a good day today, i am so blessed by so many people!!! thanks to bethany, peter, chuck, jason and jacqueline, rachel and amos, blake and robin, and jason and gena!!!

blessings, ALo

Friday, November 11, 2011


today is veterans day...i am so thankful for the men and women who have and are serving our country to keep us free!! i wrote a blog about this same thing earlier in the month, but this tends to come to mind fairly often for me, not just on veterans day. i think because paco (aka jonathan, my little bro) served in the army for several years, i tend to be a little more sensitive. i know the sacrifices he made so that i could live a life in freedom here.

i will always be thankful and grateful for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. i will always be thankful for the men and women who willingly put themselves in harms way so that i can do things, like write this blog, without being afraid of persecution!!


may God bless you and your families!!!!

blessings, ALo

Thursday, November 10, 2011


today i am thankful for people who give me a chance!

i had a few few new home hair feels so good to be getting back into some hair here and there. thanks to my new friends for trusting me!! :)

blessings, ALo

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


today was one of those rare fall days here in houston. i am so thankful for a break in the humidity. i am thankful for the sunshine and cool breeze. i am thankful for a chance to wear jeans and a sweatshirt!

I LOVE FALL!!! glad i dont feel like i am missing out anymore...even though the weather report says 81 degrees for sunday again! :)

blessings, ALo

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


today, on day 8, i am thankful for laughter. i love to laugh...and it usually doesnt take much to get at least a smile out of me.

this video has made me giggle, several times! :) i have watched it three different times. i think it is a little mean, because i know that i would have responded the same way, but i still cant help but laugh! the last two little boys are the best!!

today one of my best friends, kristin (aka pooter), had her third little boy. keller david was born at 2:02 pm 7 lb. 4oz and 20". everyone seems to be doing great!!! today, i smiled when i saw this picture of keller...i am so thankful for him and his whole family!! wish i could have been there to welcome him into the world!

"a day without laughter is a day wasted" charlie chaplin

blessings, ALo

Monday, November 7, 2011


day 7 and i am thankful for elliptical machines and stationary bikes...and the team of people that kick my butt in the gym!! i know, this is not a normal thing to be thankful for, but i am. i started working out three weeks ago and cutting back on my portions...i am now down 6.5 pounds!!! i am so excited! knowing that there is a group of girls waiting for me, expecting me to show up, helps me get out of bed every day. i have always needed help in pushing myself with cardio...they know how to do it. the tradeoff is that i am able to help push them while doing weight training...soon they will be out pressing those boys!! :)

i dont love getting up at 6:30am to go get sweaty, but it sure does feel good after! and that number on the scale makes me feel much better...well, better than it did 3 weeks ago.

i am still thankful for oreos...we are just on a break from each other! i missed out on the orange and black ones this year :(

off to bed to get up early!

blessings, ALo

Sunday, November 6, 2011


day six: i am thankful for weekends with my husband!! this weekend we went out with friends, celebrated a birthday for a friend, did a few things around the house, had some quality conversations, and served together at church. i love that he wants to serve with me at church, that he is willing to "give up" a good portion of his weekend to be a part of COF students!

i love spending time with my best friend!!! i love my best friend!!!

have a great week!

blessings, ALo

Saturday, November 5, 2011


today i am thankful for my little brother, nathan. nate-dawg (as i affectionately call him) turned 14 today!! i am so sad that i missed out on his birthday dinner. nate always chooses to go to outback steakhouse...i wonder if in a few years it will be something more like, ruth chris' or flemings??? anyway, i will never forget when nate-dawg was born...i was a typical teenager and not real enthusiastic about anything having to do with family :) my friends all thought it was kind of cool to have a little one to coo over and play babysitter for...he eventually grew on me too! :) nate has always had a strong personality...mixed with my strong personality, you never know what is going to happen when we interact. sometimes we get along great and other times its like oil and water. remember, nate is also an 8th grader this year, that doesnt usually help my case! nate likes to rub in the fact that he is now taller than me...he also likes to tell me that he is smarter than i am, but that is not truth!! :) i wish that i had more "older" pics on my computer of nate and i over the years, but they are in photo albums...before the true digital age. here are a few of my favorites that are on my computer:

as the ring bearer in my wedding, 8/2006, age 8

family pic, he think he is so cool!! 9/2007 
very typical, still!!! easter in ohio 2008

first year (and first game) of gull lake football, 6th grade 9/2009

whole family for thanksgiving, nate had just turned 13. 11/2010

my last night in MI before moving to texas...look how grown up they both are! 8/2011

i love you, nate dawg, you will always be my little bro, no matter how big you get. i have missed a lot of your growing up, but i am so proud of who you are becoming! continue to keep going after your relationship with the Lord; He is the only One who will never let you down! you have some amazing talents and abilities, remember to use them to help others, not just yourself! we are blessed to have one of the most amazing mom's...take good care of have to give respect to get it! know that i am always in your corner, praying for you, here to encourage you, and always love you!!!


blessings, ALo

Friday, November 4, 2011


Day 4: I am thankful for my amazing bed! After a day like today, I love getting in to bed, recapping the day with Peter, pray, then fall asleep knowing that tomorrow is a new day!! And thankfully, since today is Friday, I get to sleep in with Peter tomorrow!!! :)

I hope you sleep tight! Sweet dreams!!

Blessings, ALo

Thursday, November 3, 2011


today i am thankful to live in a country where i am able to openly and publicly worship God. i know that there are people here in america who are trying to suppress that freedom, that makes me very sad for them. sad that they do have the kind of relationship with their Creator where it is impossible not to feel overcome by joy from Him, joy that they want others to see and feel and experience. i also know that there are many men and women who have fought to protect that very same right, and that right for other people in other countires. my brother is one of those people. i will always be grateful, thankful, appreciative of those who willingly serve to protect me and my beliefs.

today i am also thankful for the men and women who serve as missionaries both here in america and across the globe. some of these people are able to be open about their mission, but a great number of them have to "hide" and find other ways to show people God's love for them. i get so excited when i think about meeting some of these great warriors in Heaven!

tonight at COF, we had our monthly gathering for a night or praise and worship, we call it "first thursday" (because that is when we have it, the first thursday of each month). it is such an awesome time of prayer, and praise, and worship! i love going because i can walk in and not think about what is going on in the student building, or what i need to rush out to do right after for the next weekend service, etc. first thursdays is all for me...i purposely go to be fed and to grow and to enjoy. tonight was no exception and i walked away so refreshed and excited! tonight we focused on prayer for those serving the world...places that we are a part of missionally, people that we know who are serving, people/groups that are being ministered to through those people, etc. each prayer was followed up with songs of praise. in the end, pastor mark asked us to reach out to those around us who were grieving or going through a trial (by show of hands) and pray for them. then he asked us to join hands all across the room and pray for person on our right and our left. we were supposed to share a simple request with the person on each side. my friend, jacqueline, was on my left and peter was on my right. at this point i was already starting to tear up so i didnt say anything, they both knew what my request was (just like i am sure that if any of you were standing next to me you would know too!) then we prayed. mark told us to pray, and because there were two or more gathered, to claim that prayer as heard. to reach out and claim the promise that God had for each of us. now, isnt that exactly what i wrote yesterday? it was awesome!!!! so, today i am also thankful for COF and first thursdays and all the amazing things that are going to come from the service tonight because of the power of prayer!!

can i have three things (really more than that) in one day? well, i just did. :) 

here is one of the songs that we sang tonight (also a fav of mine!!)

blessings, ALo

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


day two: i am thankful for God's promises. 

in the midst of everything that has happened in the last year, i keep clinging to the promises that God has for me and for my family. i am thankful that i have a God that keeps His word!! i wish that i was a little more patient, but i know that He is truer than true to His word and i will not be disappointed. I will be blessed because of His love for me. This should be my praise everyday...there are certainly enough blessings to be thankful for. i have to be careful not to listen to the devil...his telling me that God's timing is not good enough, that God has forgotten about me, that only some of the promises are intended for me, etc. satan wants us focus on the things we are missing out on, on the things that will drive a wedge between God and us. choosing to be thankful has that same affect on drives a wedge between us and him. 

what promise from God are you clinging to right now?

blessings, ALo

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


that is a lot of ones!!! i kinda like stuff like that...all ones in the date, when the clock reads 10:23 (my birthday), etc. i am really excited for 10/11/12 and dates similar...i know, i am weird. so, since it is the first of november and since november is the month of thanksgiving, i am going to blog everyday about something that i am thankful for. some days the post could be lengthy and go into details, somedays you might get lucky and it be just a simple statement, and some days it could be something i am thankful for along with other things that are going on. wont you be on pins and needles now, trying to guess what the blog for the day will hold?? :)

day 1: today i am thankful for honest conversations. i had the privilege of having several of those today. i had my first official day on staff at COF today, which on tuesdays means a staff wide meeting followed by team planning. i was so encouraged by the staff be circled up praying for each other, praising God for who He is and what He does and then praying against the devil for each other. this after watching 94 people get baptized over the weekend! but tonight was great! my new friend, justine, came over and we did nails and made (kinda healthy) quesadillas and just talked...for hours. she just left and i feel like i have now known her forever. we were open and real. we talked about our lives. we laughed and we cried and it was all totally normal and comfortable. i am thankful that God has allowed our paths to cross and that we feel able to just chill with each other.

i am not sure if i mentioned it in my last post, but i have been working hard in the gym for the last 3 weeks. i work out with some younger girls (well, younger than me is what i mean), justine included. i have been so sore the last two a good way! i have not seen any huge number change on the scale, but i have felt a difference! i have so much more energy, i feel much stronger, less flabby, and i have felt less emotional too. the first week was really hard for show up and be shown up, but i have come to realize it doesnt matter. the girls i work out with are perfect, because we all push each other in different ways and they are just glad that i try...great encouragers! :) hopefully, this will help my body be a better environment for when i get to be a mom/incubator again. until then i will just keep pedaling along and sweating it out!!! :)

so, what are you thankful for today? this week? this month? i encourage to think about it...make a list!

blessings, ALo

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I'm Back!

i have actually missed blogging! i am not sure if you have missed reading these posts, but either way, i am back! we are all moved into the new house and we finally got internet late thursday afternoon. i havent been able to blog since thursday, because life has been CRAZY the last few days. eventually, i will post pictures of the house, but right now i dont have a single room "finished". once i do, i will start adding pics for you! until then, thanks for all the prayers! everything went great with the closing and moving, etc! we love the house! peter is still adjusting to the commute, but everything is good! i have been really good about bargain hunting for has become somewhat of a game with myself...and one that peter is totally fine with!! :) i cant wait to have family come visit for thanksgiving!!

so, today is my birthday...yep, i am 29...i might be 29 for a while, just sayin! :) anyway, peter and i didnt have much planned in the way of birthday celebration this year, and its a good thing because this weekend has ended up being nothing like we thought it would!! originally, we knew that today would be busy because there was a HUGE "tailgate" party at church today. it was like a carnival...and it was so awesome! there was a BBQ cook-off, funnel cakes, kiddie rides, the texans football game on about a dozen big screens, and well over 3000 people! it was so fun, but after being a part of the regular 4 weekend services for middle school and the tailgate party, i am BEAT tonight...totally feeling every one of those 29 years!! :)

well, the big bummer of the weekend was that peter had to miss everything and ended up in bed all weekend unable to walk to do gout. :( we have no idea what brought it on, but it has been awful for me to watch him in so much pain! peter is not a complainer at all, so for him to almost pass out from pain, i knew there was a serious problem! saturday morning was spent in the urgent care...thankfully, he was given some anti-infammatories and medications to prevent any future flare ups. so crazy! he is feeling a little better to walk some! please pray that we can find a good family practitioner and that we can figure out why he had this episode! 

i guess i was a little (maybe more than a little) emotional about my birthday this year. i really dont care about getting older...29 isnt bad anyway. its just that a year ago at this time, things were so different! this year has been so crazy! to say things have changed is a mild understatement! last year, i was 9 weeks pregnant, so we thought this birthday would be crazy because we would be lugging around a 5 month old! we are living 1100 miles away from our friends and family, who always make a big deal about my birthday with me (do you know that i LOVE birthdays??!!). and then for peter to be down for the count for the whole weekend was a major bummer! i was emotional thinking about all that i was excited about last year is now gone/different/harder. i let myself have a moment, but then sat up and counted all the things we were blessed with this year. peter has a new job (something we had been praying about for over 3 years), our transition to a new city and home was been pretty much flawless, i have made some amazing new friends over the course of the last year, and we are (mostly) healthy. the biggest blessing in my life over the last year is my growth in my relationship with God. it had gotten a little "surface-y" for a while, and this year i have been pulled right back by His side. i have open dialogue throughout the day with God, and its awesome! i am back into serving in youth ministry with a team that loves and cares about students! peter and i are growing together in our relationship with God. we each have a desire to know HIm and what He wants for us. yes, some seriously crappy things have happened over the last year, but some even better, more awesome blessing have happened too!

this year, i am greeting my birthday, not with any less cheer, but maybe a little more guarded or with a few more reservations/lower expectations. i know that God has good things for me, some major blessings...but i dont want to expect them on my schedule. i am praying this is an even bigger growing year for me than last year! i want to be better with age!!!

countdown: 364 days until the DIRTY 30!!! :) i am telling you now...even if i have to plan it are all invited to a big bash to celebrate! :)

thank you for all the birthday wishes, thoughts, and prayers! i am truly blessed!! love you guys!!

blessings, ALo

Monday, October 3, 2011

This and That

a whole week without blogging...weird! i cant even say that anyone was really missing out. nothing "big" happened...well, at least not anything i really felt like blogging about. we did have inspections done on "the house" and ended up doing some shopping this weekend. house decor/furniture shopping with my husband was fun/interesting. when we bought our home in ohio, we didnt have to buy very much furniture...everything had been given to us/handed down from family (thanks again, family!!) we still have most of those pieces, but since we are pretty much tripling the square footage of our home, we need more furniture. what has made all of this so interesting is that my husband actually has an opinion about all of it. most guys would tell their wives to just go pick something out so that they could stay home to watch football. well, peter could care less about football AND he does care about what goes into the house. its fun because that means that i have some with a vested interest shopping with me. its interesting because we disagree about pretty much everything in life, including house decor! :) we did find a few things to agree on...score! on saturday, after shopping for several hours and walking through 4 stores, we found a cool cajun restaurant for lunch. if you have plans to visit us here in texas, dont be surprised if we take you to "ragin' cajun" for a meal. it had good food, outdoor seating, and a fun atmosphere. so, back to the inspections, we have to get 2 new water heaters (the existing heaters are more than shot) and repair the air conditioners. the draw back of buying a foreclosure is that we can not ask the seller to replace/repair items...the house comes as is. but, those things were still out weighed by everything else that we liked about the house (not excluding the cost!!!). we are hoping to close the deal on wednesday, but friday at the latest, according to the bank.

things at the church are going great. this weekend i came home after the 5pm sunday service, exhausted. i love middle schoolers, but i get worn out mentally with them! right now, i am still on a volunteer status at the church, but i am doing everything that i will be doing when i do take the job. i am calling this a trial run. november 1st will be when i make the "official" decision. peter and i have been going to the 9:30 am service together and volunteering together for the 11:30 am service. i am also there for the saturday night and sunday night services. we really like the church. the worship was awesome this weekend...i didnt want it to end!! so...still excited about being a part of COF and really looking forward to being a part of the "team" with jason, blake, and rachel! again, if you are planning a visit, you will have to come on a weekend to experience all of it with us! :)

so, i am addicted to pinterest. its not a secret. it has been true for a while now, but it is just getting worse! i am like my friend, elizabeth (btw isnt she so cute with short hair??), in that pinterest is killing any type of weight loss i thought i had going. not completely, but mostly at least! :) i have found so many good recipes! the crock pot chicken-n-dumplins were awesome! tonight i made hawaiian chicken with pineapple...soooooo gooooood! peter had been craving some cinnamon buttercream, so tonight i made some sugar cookies and brown sugar cinnamon buttercream to top them off...uh, i dont think i need to say more! if you are not on pinterest yet, let me know...i will send you an invite! :)

today, while surfing the web, i came across this recipe for marshmallow bon-bons. dont they look good? well, i thought of my mom immediately and our good friends, the jones boys. growing up, zach and aaron jones lived down the street. i honestly cant remember how much older than me they each were...zach was probably 6 years older and aaron 4? either way, they would babysit and were a riot. they would hide the remote controls from my mom before she would come home. once she for real could not find them and she had to call and beg to have them back. well, the joke was that since my mom didnt have a job outside of the home, that she must sit around in her robe watching soap operas and eating bon bons all day. it would make my mom so mad when they would tease her, relentlessly! zach and aaron were like a part of our family! one summer night, while driving home from his job at american eagle, zach lost control of his car and died. we were all devastated!!! i will never forget where i was and what i was doing when my mom called me and told me. i missed the funeral because i was in michigan visiting my dad for the summer, but it was probably better for my 12 year old self that way. i still think about the jones family. aaron is married with at least one little one and as far as i know, mr. and mrs. jones still live in their house in rivercliff subdivison. and as long as i live, when ever i see or hear about bon-bons i will think of those boys and the crazy chaos they brought to our house!! :) so, in honor of them, i will be making the marshmallow bon bons this week some time...dont you wish you were visiting?? :)

i think there have been a total of three plugs for you to come visit now, but in case you need one's high was a glorious sunny 84 degrees with very low humidity. thats right...the heat has broken (for now)!! so, book a trip! we will sit on my new flagstone patio and eat something sweet! :)

i hope you all have a great week! thanks for caring enough to read all the mundane happenings in our life! hopefully, the next time i blog, i will be the proud resident at 8407 gentlewood ct. houston, tx. 77095!! :)

blessings, ALo

Monday, September 26, 2011


the last two days i have been emotional/sensitive/dramatic/whatever. i am not sure what brought it on, exactly, but on saturday night i had a couple pretty bad dreams. when i have bad dreams, it always has something to do with someone leaving me. so when i woke up i was just a little off. peter and i went to the 9:30 service together at church and it was exactly what i needed! the worship music was exactly that, worship. the sermon was straight from God's word and there was a really great time of prayer during the service too. it was really encouraging and got me ready to volunteer with the middle schoolers in the 2nd service. i told peter about how i was feeling over lunch. i have realized things go much better if i express what i am feeling/thinking sooner rather than later. we had a good talk and he was super encouraging to me. the day started out a little rough, but ended up being great. time with peter, hanging out with middle schoolers, and a nap were all great! before falling asleep last night, i spent time thinking about Charlotte, looking at her stuff (which is by my bed right now), and thanking God for the time that i did have with her. God helped me find a way to choose half full rather than half empty! :) this thought (which i saw on pinterest) kept coming to mind too.

today, i didnt wake up emotional, but there was an "incident" that kinda hurt my feelings. i dont think that i want to go into it...however i did talk to peter about it. he understands why i feel the way that i do, but he was more than kind enough to tell me not to let it bother me. this type of thing has very rarely happened, so i took it hard...he told me not to take it personally because of the previous statement. i know this all sounds kind of strange and doesnt make sense...sorry! anyway. all of that was put into perspective tonight. i got a call from mom about a horrible tragedy in the lives of some dear family friends. all that i was thinking and feeling today was pretty much made null and void in comparison. again, i can not share all the details here, but please be praying for these friends. i was quickly reminded of how blessed i am, how loved i am, and how much i love my family and friends. 

God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. 

here are two songs from worship this weekend that were encouraging to me..hope they are the same for you!!

blessings, ALo

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lulu


i wish i was there to help your family celebrate your first birthday! i wish, more than anything, that you were here to celebrate too! i bet that you are having the most spectacular birthday cake in heaven today. i hope that you and Charlotte are playing games and enjoying this day together.

please pray with me today for my sweet friend, cami. i can not imagine all the emotions that she is feeling today! my prayer, which i texted to her this morning, is that her day is full of joy not sadness; hope not fear; thankfulness not regret. please pray for cami's hubby and four older children as they also grieve and celebrate at the same time. today, the snyder family is celebrating by going to the hospital and doctors' offices that helped care for Lulu...taking treats to celebrate and thank you notes (like the picture above). what an amazing gift in honor of their sweet little girl. please pray that this will be an encouraging time, rather than a time of anxiety!

i love you, cami! praying for you!!

blessings, ALo

Thursday, September 15, 2011

More Than Coincidence

i have been offered a job! i was offered the job before i even moved down here! this is so much more than a coincidence and i just have to share might get a little wordy, because i am so excited about it, so forgive me...or dont read it...whatever! :)

in january 2005, i had i just graduated from college (december) and started a job as an intern at far hills community church in dayton with the youth department. i worked specifically for the middle school pastor, jason, as well as helping out when needed for the high school events. jason and i always had so much fun together...he quickly taught me that middle schoolers arent all that bad if you just reach them where they are at. so, yes, lots of fun! but jason also knows how to communicate with the middle schoolers to get them to understand God's movement in their lives...he doesnt take the Bible and"water it down" but makes it applicable for their lives right now. i was in charge of games, announcements, the "bulletin", helping coordinate events, and everyday admin work. i was also a small group leader, which i loved!! i worked as an intern until the end of may and was then asked to join full time staff the first of june. i was so excited!! that summer jason, a few volunteer leaders, and myself lead a group of the middle schoolers on a missions trip to a christian camp in southern ohio to do a work project. i will never forget playing a night game (towards the end of the week) and completely wiping out on some wet grass. i came down hard on my tailbone, which i had previously injured a few times, and threw my back out! i had to be moved to a separate cabin without stairs...jason and one of the other male leaders had to carry me up the hill...i was more than embarrassed!! by the end of the summer, there was some shady stuff going on and not long after shady stuff caused the church to split. by october i was working at an eye doctors office and at the end of the year, jason and his family took a new position at a big church in tennessee.

fast forward to the middle of august (this year, like last month!). i saw on facebook that jason and jacqueline and their 2 kids were moving to houston. i asked him what was up...where in houston (mind you houston is the 4th largest city in the nation right now) etc. i never thought that he would say northwest houston (where we are wanting to be), but he did. the following monday jason called me and filled me in on what was going on (it had been not quite 5 years since we had talked besides the occasional facebook stalk) and all about the church that he was joining. we talked for almost an hour and at the end he was jokingly telling me that i needed to come work for him. i said "sure, sure, whatever!" well, i did some research on the church and wasnt able to fine anything i didnt like. i think that i was secretly hoping i would, because this was just a little crazy! jason called me back the night before we were leaving for jamaica to for real offer me a job. "aimee, come work for me. i got the green light and the money to pay you!" what??!!!??? nobody there has met me and i have not seen you in five years!! i didnt say that, but it was what i was thinking!! what i did say, after hearing the details, is that i would pray about it, talk with peter and see him (jason) when we got there the next week. jason and his family moved to houston on saturday (9/3) and i was there tuesday (9/4). on wednesday i met jason, jacqueline and the kids for lunch and then went to their house to chat. the more i heard about the job, the more excited i got! on thursday i met jason at the church to look around and meet a few other members of the staff. to say that everyone was welcoming and encouraging is an understatement. jason knew that me taking the job was going to be contingent on whether or not peter and i liked the church as a place for us to grow. saturday night we went to a service and really enjoyed it! even though community of faith is a very large church, we felt very welcomed! it reminded me a lot of my time as an intern at first baptist church naples in florida. the worship at CoF was contemporary without feeling like i was going to a concert or that the band was there just for entertainment. the pastor started a new series and this week was about forgiveness (kind of perfect for sept. 11). he did not stand up at the pulpit and pretend like he was above all of us. he actually sat and talked like we were sitting in his living room, talking about something he struggles with on a certain level. i left very encouraged! i went back sunday morning to watch jason in action and to get a feel for the middle schoolers. again, by the end of the morning, i could see jason was going to be the perfect fit for this middle school ministry.

so, long story short, i am taking the job! :) i am not going to officially accept the offer for a few weeks, but i will be doing everything that jason has asked of me in the job description on a volunteer basis. peter and i just want to make sure that it is not too much for me and that this is going to be a good fit for our family before we make it official. i have been burned twice while being on staff of a ministry and we are just being a little cautious! :) however, i am beyond excited to being going back into ministry! i have been praying for the last several months to be given an opportunity to get involved. thats how we know that this is more than just a coincidence! God is obviously working here! jason needs an assistant (that will not be my title, but we are still working on that) and i wanted to be involved with youth again. again, not that i needed any confirmation that we should be in texas, but this is just amazing...i keep saying it...more than a coincidence!

i am praying that God will use me where i am at to help some of these teen where they are at! i am praying that the details are just right for what peter and i need for our family! i am praising God for this amazing opportunity to be back in ministry and in ministry with friends who i trust!

i am so blessed!


Verse 3:
When Christ shall come,
With shouts of acclamation,
And take me home,
What joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow
In humble adoration
And there proclaim,
"My God, how great Thou art!" 

blessings, ALo

ps. remember that embarrassing story about my back? well, i went to CoF today to help put together some new furniture. jason and i were working on putting together some IKEA stuff (by the way, that can be so annoying...their directions are ridiculous) and it was really warm. jason was literally dripping sweat onto me. i said "well, its a good thing we are friends and didnt just meet this week!" its still gross though...and if he were a normal person he might have been a little embarrassed...good thing he isnt! :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

So Different

a year ago today, peter and i found out we were pregnant! i had come home from work and taken the test while peter was out for a bike ride. the test immediately came back positive and i was so excited!! i wrapped up the positive test in tissue paper, put it inside of a hair color box, and wrapped the box with more tissue paper...quick planning! peter called me as i was finishing up the wrapping and asked if i would come get him from the bike path...he had gotten a flat tire on his bike that he could not repair. i wanted so badly to tell him on the ride home, but knew i should wait. i told him to hurry up and go change his clothes so that we could go to dinner. we had already planned a date night to our favorite local mexican place. after changing, i told him i had a gift for he was unwrapping it he was totally clueless, he had no idea i had even taken a test! once he got to the second wrapping of tissue, he asked if i got him a new pen...i laughed and said "no, keep going!" as he unwrapped the test he looked at me, figured out what it meant and then got this HUGE grin on his face. i wish i would have had my camera was PRICELESS!!! at one point over dinner, while we were planning on how to tell our families and making big plans for a nursery and different names we liked, we joked about how excited we were over a pee stick and how much that urine test was going to change our lives. we had no idea!!!

i took another test this week. it was negative. i was so sad and super dissapointed. i still am...but today i am more pissed because i have stinkin' cramps. i have been thinking a lot about how many things are different than they were a year ago. some for the better, some for the worse, and some just different. i had to stop counting how many different people announced that they were pregnant in the last week. here is the deal...i am excited for them! i DO NOT want other people's lives to be put on hold! i just wish i was looking forward to having another baby not cramps! all in God's time...i know. i have just needed more help reminding myself of that this week. thanks, mom and lisa, for hearing me out and then giving me a kick in the butt!

here are a few pics from the beginning last time...i didnt blog about our pregnancy until we had gotten bad news, so i wanted to share them now...we were so excited. i still get so excited thinking about all of it. i will always love my baby girl and these pictures will always be precious to me!!

not even a question!

right after dinner, the day we found out!

this is how we told our extended family in october...
"guess who is adding a pumpkin to their patch"

"we are! babyLo is due in May!"

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31-39

blessings, ALo

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years ago...

...changed our family, like every other american family, forever! i will never forget where i was when the "news" of 9/11/01 happened. cedarville was still on quarters, so unlike all my friends from high school, i had a few more days at home before leaving for college. that morning, i was still in bed when my mom woke me up to tell me that "something happened in new york, come watch the tv while i take your siblings to school. let me know what happens." i came down and sat in front of the tv totally stunned, then watched as the next plane plowed into the world trade center. i will never forget calling my mom totally freaked out re-capping what i had been watching! as a family, we were prayerful and concerned for those affected. it became a little more real, when 4 days later, mom and i were in the chapel at cedarville...we met a father of a fellow freshman who had a brother in new york that they had yet to hear from. i remember kneeling there with so many others, praying for God's peace for this family and so many others who were looking for loved ones in the chaos.

during that same week, our family was going through our own tradgedy. events that rocked us forever. being away from home while there was so much going on in and around our family was miserable. i wanted to "be there" for my family and cedarville felt so far away. that was the first time that i was not ok with going away to school. God became a very real and constant force in my life for the first time. both 9/11 and this family crisis pushed me to understand, truely, that evil is a very real thing and only God can help pull us together to get through it. without His constant guidance through the turmoil, we would all be in a world of hurt!!

in september 2001, my brother (jonathan) was in 11th grade. if he had been just a little older he would have immediately left school and joined the armed servcies. jonathan had always wanted to be a soldier (i can not even tell you how many of my barbies were shot down by his army men!) and the attack on our country 10 years ago sealed the deal for him. right after graduating from high school, he went on to boot camp and basic training and eventually on to serve 2 tours (one in iraq and one in afghanistan) with the 101st airborne division of the army...he was a screaming eagle!! i am so proud of my brother for his courage and bravery, especially during war time. he gladly signed up, with so many other fine men and women, to proudly serve and protect our country's freedom from terrorism. while our family prayed and worried constantly for his safety, we all knew he was right he should be and was trained to be...on the front lines fighting for us! by God's grace, he came home each time...a true hero!!!

the events that happened 10 years ago rocked my world in more ways than one, but i am so grateful to be living in a country that is proud to defend who we are! i am so grateful for the men and women, like jonathan, who have sacrificed so much for this country. may we never forget all that has brought us to where we are! God bless america!!

i pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the united states of america, and to the republic, for which it stands: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Amen.

at jonathan's "turning blue" ceremony. ft. benning grorgia

just before shipping out for tour #1. pictured with beal, his best friend! they did boot camp, basic training, both tours and blackwater together!!

2nd tour, on patrol.

2nd tour, the little dog they found on patrol.
this still brings tears to my eyes...welcome home, paco!!! jonathan with his family!

blessings, ALo

Thursday, September 8, 2011

No problem, Mon!

oh, did me right!! for real, this was one of the best and most needed adult vacations!! to say that we had a great time would be an understatement!! first, i need to thank my mom for making this possible! she not only financially made it possible, but she babysat kayla and carter so that jonathan and whit could come along (my bro and sis-in-law). THANKS, MOM!!!! second, a big shout out to kira, our travel agent!! she was super helpful and answered all my silly questions at the most random times! :) she got us an awesome upgrade on our room at no extra charge! if you looking to plan a trip email her!!! :)

ok, so our trip started last thursday early morning am! peter and i flew out of dayton, oh to baltimore where we met up with paco (aka jonathan) and whit. we all then went on to montego bay together. we landed just before 11 am (jamaica time, they are an hour behind...kinda weird). we got through customs with no problems, got the luggage, exchanged some money (we felt pretty rich...$1US = $74JAM) and headed to our bus for transport to the resort. we all thought we were being punk'd after getting on the bus...we were told the ride would be an hour and a half long...what??? i was expecting to be sitting by the pool sippin a pina colada by 1!! not a joke. for real, this was the only bummer of the whole trip. and in the end it really wasnt that big of a fact on the bus ride back on monday we watched the classic jamaican movie, "cool runnings". ok, when we did get to the resort, checked in and got a little settled and then headed down to the pool and beach area. that was it...i was in heaven! two amazing pools (both with swim up bars), all the food you could want (including a made to order pizza place) and amazing beachfront with a breeze looking into the crystal clear turquoise waters! we honestly did not do anything special outside of snorkeling the entire time we were there, which was perfect!! we all got plenty of sun, ate plenty of food, and had a fantastic time! by the end of the trip, we were all planning our next get away! even paco, who is very hard to please, was ready to book for next year!!! the jewel (an all inclusive adult only resort) was awesome!! it was sooooooooooo clean, not overcrowded (partly because it is a smaller resort), the most friendly staff, etc. i literally could go on and on. please...check it out! i just told my dad, i have always liked cruises because everything is right there and easy...well i will never go on another cruise if i can go to the jewel. it was all the perks of a cruise, plus more and much bigger rooms and no sea sickness!! my favorite was being able to get up early and sit either on my balcony overlooking the ocean or go down to the beach for my time with beautiful! i also spent saturday morning on the beach, thinking about Charlotte, looking at her pics, and knowing that her view must be a thousand times better than what i was seeing right then! so, after 5 amazing days of alone time with peter (so thankful for that!!) and lots of laughs between the four of us (plus 106 photos!!!) it was time to go. i could have definitely stayed a few more days, but we all left in great moods! paco and whit were ready to see the kids and puppy and peter and i were ready to start our adventure in texas. we all got back without any travel glitches (not so lucky for some guy who got kicked off his USAirways flight...we saw him ranting while waiting for our flight...sounded like he was not cooperating with the inflight staff before take off, so they hauled him back to the gate and kicked him off. good for them!!!) after getting in late monday night to dayton, peter and i flew out of columbus on tuesday to head to texas. big thanks to my friend, morgan, for being an airport shuttle and providing a place to are awesome!!! 

all in all, absolutely NO COMPLAINTS about our time and experiences in jamaica! we went during "hurricane season" but did not have a single drop of rain!!! we saw a sweet lightening storm, never anything else! this was a trip that all four of us needed!! wish i was there today, doing my devotions on the beach rather than inhaling the scent of smoke from the texas fires i had this morning...please be praying for that!!

here are a few pics...i will post most of the rest on facebook later pics from my last dinner with friends in ohio. no comments either about how many times i have worn the navy dress this summer either...its comfy!! :)

me and paco the first day!

me and whit on our way to dinner on the pier

getting ready to go snorkeling!

surprise dessert brought to our room one good!

last full day by the beach

whit and paco (so burnt) enjoying the pool

last night at dinner

one last pic on the beach before going to the airport.

blessings, ALo

ps. i will have you know, i am the only one that did not get SCORCHED in the sun. sadly, the rest of the group did not come with a base tan...and the salt water while snorkeling did them in. i know you ware probably looking at the pics saying, "she is totally burnt, look at her!" no, that is me tan, i promise...well, red, but never painful...indian tan??!!?? :)