And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 1:13-14

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Checking Off My List

Gumbo - Check!
Puppy Chow - Check!
Taco Meat for Cheese Dip - Check!
Celery Cut for Pineapple Cream Cheese Appetizer - Check!
Gingerbread for Church tonight - Check!
Dry ingredients measured for Corn Casserole - Check!
Ding-dong cake - In the oven!

Next step...Clean my kitchen!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What's Cooking?

I love Christmas time. My mom always made it very special for my family by keeping Jesus at the center and filling the holidays with good food and good company. Since I am grown, I now enjoy helping to share some of that burden of cooking up Christmas.

So that's what I am planning on doing all day tomorrow. I am going to start out with cooking gumbo, which we will enjoy for lunch on Friday at my house with my parents, sister & family, and aunt & uncle. Then I am going to make puppy chow to bring to Laurie and Micah's on Christmas Eve night. I am also going to brown meat to add to the cheese dip that I will make on Friday night and start the Ding-Dong Cake for Christmas Day. That has to be frozen so that I can cut it into four pieces so I need to get an early start.

I am also making celery with pineapple cream cheese, a fruit salad that my family calls pink salad, and corn casserole. Good thing I have been going to Zumba! I better keep exercising or I will be rolling in to church on Sunday. :)

I also have a goal. My goal is to not enter another store until after Christmas. I have done my Christmas shopping and my grocery shopping so I am hoping that I do not have to get in one more line or swipe my credit card one more time. Can I do it? I guess we shall see!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Zumba is so fun!

I have been going to Zumba about 3 times a week for almost 2 months, and it has become one of my favorite things to do. It is great exercise and the best thing about it is that it is so fun you don't even realize how hard you are working out.

I go to Jennifer Simpson's classes at Taylor Dance Studio on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:30am to 10:30am. She loves the Lord, and many of our workout songs are Christian songs. They also have classes on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights at 6:30. I try to go at least one evening a week.

The class is free the first time then you can choose to pay $25 a month for unlimited classes or $5 per class.

Lance told me the other day that it looked like my gut was getting smaller. I said thank you but was unsure if it was really a compliment since it included the word "gut" ha ha!

I figure the only thing that could make it more fun would be if I had some friends to share it with. So come if you can and join me in some calorie-burning fun :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Back to School

That's right...I'm going back to school. January 26th I start my first seminary class. Don't get any ideas though, I am not hoping to be a preacher. I'm Baptist, remember, I could not do that if I wanted to :)

I am taking Hermeneutics, a class that teaches you deeper Bible Study Methods from a language and cultural perspective, from Grace School of Theology. They have a satellite campus at First Baptist Beaumont, and the preacher there will be facilitating the class.

For a while now I have been really interested in learning more about the Greek and Hebrew languages because I think some of the fullness of God's Word can be masked in translation if we do not carefully study it and meditate on it. I think this class will teach me some helpful tools to appreciate the full complexity of Scripture as the Living Word.

This class is another way that God is bringing good out of a bad situation. I found out about the school's satellite campus and the course offerings shortly after my miscarriage. I knew that this was an opportunity that God was providing for me because like I said in my profile, I am promised to the King of Kings and while I am awaiting His return, I will not be idle. I want to make every moment count. So for now, I'm back to school.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Born to Shop

Mackenzie and I hit a new landmark in our mother-daughter relationship on Friday - we had a big girl shopping day! It was so much fun and was very special because I have such fond memories of shopping days with my mom when I was a little girl. (Actually we still shop together and have a lot of fun ;)

We planned Friday to pick out a Christmas dress for Mackenzie. In year's past, I have picked one out and brought it home for her to wear or my mom or Auntie has seen one while shopping and bought it for her. But this year was different - this year was big girl shopping.

Of course, our trip started with lunch as all good shopping days should. She chose to eat at Jason's Deli so we did that and then once our bellies were full, we headed to Kohl's. We looked through the racks, and I held the ones she liked in her size for her to try on. She is very girly and frilly so for the most part she was picking things I liked too.

After we had about ten dresses to try, we headed to the dressing room. Mackenzie was so excited she could not stop giggling. After she tried each one on, we decided if they went in the no or maybe pile. How well they flowed when she twirled around was high on Mackenzie's list of criteria. And if they were itchy, they were definite no's.

At the end of trying on round one, we had narrowed the choices down to about five. So she tried all the maybes on again and made her final decision. She was so proud of her selection that she carried it to the cash register and wanted to swipe the credit card herself. The smile on her face was worth a million dollars.

Then of course, like good shoppers we had to shop for new shoes :) We talked about how she could not wear the outfit until Christmas. I guess she was looking for a way around that because last night she said, "Since I can't wear my new dress outside until Christmas, can I sleep in it tonight?" I said no, but I said it with a smile. What a fun day! Daughters are a gift from God.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Name is Faith, and I Know You

Yesterday Lance and I found out that we lost the baby we were expecting. I am sad, but I also know that I am loved. Family and friends have reached out to me to let me know that they love me. My husband and I are working through this together and I feel so loved by him. Mackenzie has shown me love as she also grieves this loss. And the most compelling love I know is the love of my Savior. I wanted to share the blessing in the midst of hurt that He gave me this morning.

After I dropped Mackenzie off at school and had my Tuesday morning prayer time with some mom friends, I headed to the hospital to see my precious friend Lindsey who has just welcomed a beautiful baby girl into this world. My loss does not diminish the joy I feel for her because her journey to motherhood was long and difficult, and I rejoice with her in seeing God's goodness revealed.

As I was leaving the hospital, a woman who was coming in stopped me and said, "Do I know you? I think I know you." While she did look familiar, I responded, "I don't know."

"My name is Faith," she said, "and I know that I know you."

"My name is Alison," I replied. But having gotten no recognition from the sharing of names. She smiled and said, "Well I don't know, but you sure look familiar." I nodded and said, "You look familiar too." And we went on our way.

When I sat down in my car, I lost my breath as God spoke to me.

"Alison, if you feel like you are loosing faith, I just want you to know that I know you. I AM Faith. I AM the Great I AM. And I know you, and I love you."

Thank you God for knowing me and making me feel known and loved. May my struggles add to my ministry for your kingdom so that I can share with others what it means to be known by Faith.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


"Character is the will to do what is right, as God defines right, despite the cost."

I don't know where that quote comes from, but I love it. It was in Lance's Bible Study this morning, and he shared it with me. I just had to share it with my blogger friends. Hope you all have a great day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

His Little Girl

I wanted to share a poem with you all that I wrote for Mackenzie's birthday. As she grows and experiences knew things, I have to continually remind myself that the only way I can be the parent she needs is to surrender control to God. He is the only Perfect Parent!

His Little Girl
I move your golden tendrils out of your sleeping eyes,
And a whirlwind of emotion takes me by surprise.
I pause and kneel beside your bed as I try to guess your dreams
Your small frame curled tightly; your look peaceful and serene.

I inhale slowly, then exhale as though I feel the weight.
This little life depends on me and the choices that I make.
Then just as tears begin to well and my heart begins to race,
I close my eyes, bow my head, and take my rightful place.

For every night, my precious one, I surrender my control
To One who loves you even more than we could ever know.
He knit your inmost being with a perfect plan in mind,
Lovingly creating you with a purposeful design.

So I ask for Him to lead me as I raise His little girl
And hold my hand as I hold yours to guide you through this world.
I pray that at a tender age, you learn to call Him "Lord"
And trust in Him, your Source of Strength, when life seems cold and hard.
I ask Him to reveal Himself in the choices that you make
As you hunger for His righteousness and always seek His face.
And on those days your way seems dark, I pray your soul is well
Because you hold to the assurance that His promises won't fail.
I beg your days of serving Him are fruitful and are many,
That you fulfill your heart's desires, and His blessings number plenty.

I begin to feel the peace He brings and know in you He finds delight.
I wrap my arms around you and kiss your head goodnight.
And as my weight is lifted by the One who holds the world,
I thank Him that He's given me this chance to hold His little girl.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Good Eats in SETX

Tonight Lance, Mack & I went to eat at Sake for the first time. I got the Crunch Roll and Mackenzie loved it. She has really unique tastes for a four year old. She got the Shrimp Hibachi Kid's Meal. I tasted some of hers, and it was really good too. We had fun together.

I love to go out to eat. We don't go very much because it is expensive and bad for you so when we do it is always a treat. I think my favorite places to go eat in SETX are Jason's Deli, Chili's and Carmela's. I like several things at Jason's, and I love the chocolate soft serve ice cream. At Chili's the black bean burger is delicious, and of course you can't go wrong with Carmela's Mexican food. Sometime Lance, Mackenzie and I all split the Grande Burrito and we still have some left to take home. It is huge!

What is your favorite place to eat in our area?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Busy Summer

It seems like I don't have much time to blog lately, or at least I have not taken the time. We have had a great and busy summer.

In June, I taught Vacation Bible School for the first time ever. It was fun, and I always love being with kids. We also had Mackenzie's recital. She loves dancing and I find so much joy in watching her. She was in ballet, tumbling and Father/Daughter dance (which was her favorite). She had three costume changes this year and so I felt like a real dance mom :) It was fun!

We also did swimming lessons in June with Miss Dayla. She was Mackenzie's three year old teacher at Holy Cross. We love her. She taught Mack a lot, and now Mackenzie is a little fish in the pool.

In July we enjoyed picking blueberries with my sister-in-law. Her grandparents have a blueberry farm in Spurger. We have eaten gallons of blueberries this summer. It has been a super treat! We also went to two Astro's games last month and spent some time at Toledo Bend and at a ski lake in Cheek that Lance's dad just bought a lot on. We even helped to build and paint the new boat dock. It was a fun but hot job.

Two weeks ago, Mack & I took a very quick last-minute trip to Austin with my mom. It was so fun! We went to Barton Springs, toured the Capitol and did some shopping in San Marcos. I think Mackenzie learned a lot about our state on the trip.

Last week was one of the highlights of the summer. Lance, Mackenzie & I participated in a Backyard Bible Club at Rienstra Park. A lot of young adults helped and over 20 kids came to play games, have snacks, make crafts and most importantly, hear about the love of Jesus. The last night was a Family Night. We got to share the love of Christ with over 50 people. It was exciting to see God moving in our community.

Next week is Mackenzie's birthday. She will be five. We are getting her ears pierced for her birthday. She is excited. I am excited for her too. Getting your ears pierced is sort of a rite of passage, and it reminds me that she is growing up. She is such a sweet beautiful little girl. God has blessed our family so much this summer...with each other, with fun activities, and with the opportunity to be about His Work.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Answered Prayers

I have not posted in forever so I thought I would update my blog friends on some exciting new things around the Howell house. Lance got a job! Praise the Lord!

He is working for Controlled Fluids in Beaumont. They build pumps and valves and stuff...I don't really understand it all, but that is why he is the engineer and not me :) His first day was yesterday. It is such an answer to prayer that he was able to secure a job in this really tough labor market. God was so faithful to provide for us while we were waiting and now He has sent this big blessing our way. We are so thankful to Him.

My bro-in-law & sis-in-law also had a beautiful healthy baby girl on February 9th. Her name is Brenlee Kate. She has a beautiful head of silky brown hair. Mackenzie and I have had a lot of fun spending time with her. This makes niece #2 for me,and I have a nephew on the way in April.

On another note, one of my best friends who has been struggling with infertility for over four years found out she is pregnant. I have prayed for her so much and care about her so much, and I was SUPER excited by her great news. She really inspires me.

Some of my other good friends have surrendered to the ministry and I know God has exciting things for their lives too. God is so good. In times like this when His blessings seem so real and abundant, I want to make sure and give Him the glory. He teaches us things while we are waiting so that when His time is made perfect we can glorify Him for his generous love.