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

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Decade

Ten years ago, Lance and I were 21 years old standing on the stage of Hillcrest Baptist Church in front of hundreds of people. I remember the day like it was yesterday. (Well it probably helps that I have watched the video like a hundred times). It was everything I wanted it to be.

And I can honestly say that ten years later, marriage is everything that I wanted it to be too. Don't get me wrong, we are not the Cleavers. We argue sometimes (usually about Lance being late). And we get on each others nerves from time to time. But ultimately, he is my absolute best friend and a wonderful husband. I could not imagine my life with anyone else. So to commemorate our 10th wedding anniversary, I will tell you how we met in case anyone is interested...

Lance and I are the same age, and we both went to school at Nederland HS. It was nearly the end of our 11th grade year, and I had signed up to give blood at the blood drive at school. I was 17 years old and would take any chance to get out of class. I left my last period class, which Lance and I shared, and headed to the drama department, where the Life Share people were set up. I gave blood, and then I passed out cold. The bell to go home rang, and since I never came back to class, my teacher asked Lance to bring my books down to me. When he got there, I was laid out on the floor with an ammonia pack under my nose. The Life Share worker asked Lance if he knew me, to which he replied, "Well yea she is in my class." The worker asked if he could bring me home because she did not think it advisable for me to drive myself. That evening after he dropped me off, he called me to see how I was feeling. That was it. I was smitten.

Lance was very well-respected in school, and he was cute. Everyone knew he loved the Lord, and that helped to attract me to him. Plus he was just a nice guy. And he was cute, or did I say that already. After our blood donation experience, we became good friends. But I secretly liked him. Well I don't know how much of a secret it was. But the part about us being good friends is true anyway. Finally, I won his heart over and he asked me to Senior Prom. We haven't been apart since.

He is the love of my life. He is still my best friend. I feel so lucky that we have been together for so long. I don't know what I did to deserve him, but I do know that I am thankful I have him!

It is true - love does get sweeter with time. I can't wait to see what the next decade holds!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Summer

It's officially summer at the Howell house! Yesterday Mackenzie graduated from preschool. We enjoyed a program to honor the graduates, and then we really enjoyed a spaghetti lunch for the graduates and their families. It was very special because my dad made his famous spaghetti and meatballs for all the graduates and their families. Mackenzie and I were proud of him.

Today we had a swimming party at her other grandfather's house for her class. It was a fun way to kick off the summer - swimming, pizza and friends. She had a lot of sweet kids in her class, and I feel blessed to have become friends with several of the moms.

This Memorial Day Weekend we are planning to enjoy some time at a ski lake in Beaumont that Lance's dad bought a lot on last year. We will ski, grill and swim. It should be a lot of fun.

Besides enjoying time with the family and friends, I will also be spending a lot of time in the next week gluing sequins to costumes. Recital is in two weeks, and Mackenzie is in three numbers this year - jazz, ballet and father-daughter dance. She loves to dance, and I love to experience recital with her, especially since I was a dancer too.

Mackenzie is also excited to start Zumbatomic in a few weeks. It's Zumba for kids, and they are having it at Taylor Dance Studio on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. My sweet friend, Jennifer, is teaching it. Check out Nederland Zumba on facebook for more info. It will be a blast for the kids.

I am still teaching Zumba at Powerhouse three times a week, and I like it. I am especially enjoying getting to know some of the ladies there better. It's a fun way to work out and make friends.

I love summer, and I love my life! I am one blessed wife and momma!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ready or Not, Here She Comes

Tonight was Kindergarten Round-up in Nederland. I feel like I have been holding back tears all day. I know it sounds silly, but it is going to be really hard when Mackenzie goes to school. I have been very blessed to be able to stay home with her, and she and I love spending time together. Then we were doubly blessed that four days a week this year, she has been going to Learning Hands preschool where she has my mom as a teacher.

I know that she is ready for school, even though she is a little nervous, but I just wish that she could stay a preschooler a little longer. I know that I cannot keep her from growing because God has wonderful plans for her future so instead, I will pray for her everyday. Because whether mom is ready or not, she comes!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Micah Tyler Band Rocks!

On Friday night, my friend and I went to Oasis Coffee Shop in Bridge City to check out the Micah Tyler Band. They were awesome! They are a local Christian band who I think may be famous one day :)

Their CD is awesome. I thought I would share a preview with you all in case you have not heard of them yet.

Check out this youtube video with a preview of the CD....

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Check Out This Video

Check out this video Lance made, and if you like it share it! :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Little Hands Making a Big Difference

Several months ago Mackenzie was watching a special on Nickelodeon about the one year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. The program, designed for children, talked about the disaster and how the people were still working to rebuild their lives. Mackenzie was deeply touched.

She came to Lance and I wanting to do something to help the Haitian children she saw on the television special. We agreed to think of a way to help, but for several weeks our efforts were no more than good intentions. However, she would not let it go. She told my mom at school that we all just had to do something to help Haiti because they had a terrible "earthshake" and many people lost their homes.

We decided that we had to help her organize a project because we wanted her to understand that when God lays something on your heart, you should obey. I contacted the International Mission Board because I knew that they had missionaries on the ground in Haiti, and I was hoping that they could direct us to a specific need that we could meet.

The IMB hooked me up with David & Jo Brown, missionaries in Port Au Prince. After e-mail communication with the Browns, we decided to raise money to furnish a school. The school was destroyed in the earthquake. The building has been rebuilt; however, the children are sitting on the floor and have few supplies.

Mackenzie is so excited about the project. All the children in her preschool are raising money, and our church family will have an opportunity to contribute next Sunday. Today during a link dinner for the preschool, Mack and some of her friends had a bake sale and raised about $200 for the project.

This has been a great learning experience for her. I am hoping that she learns to value missions and that when God asks you to do something, you do it. Also, I want her to know that this is not about her or how good or smart or sweet she is. Instead, this is about how God good is and how wonderful it is that He takes care of all of His creation and that sometimes we get to be involved in His work.

I am so proud of her and her friends, and it definitely does warm my heart to see those little hands making a big difference.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Father's Laughing Cry

For the last several weeks, Lance and I have encouraged Mackenzie to stand during the singing portion of our Sunday church service because we know that she knows most of the songs (she has them on her Ipod), and we want to encourage her participation in worship. Today she was very willing to sing and participate.

We sang, Jesus Paid It All, one of her favorite songs. She began singing quietly. As the instruments got louder and more people joined in the singing, Mackenzie got louder as well. When we got to the chorus portion of the song that repeats the phrase, "He washed it white as snow," Mackenzie was belting it out. Several people began giggling around us - probably partly because it was sweet to hear such a small child worship and also partly because she was VERY off-tune.

I was one who started giggling. But I also started crying. All at the same time. Not a good combination when you are in church and don't want to disturb those around you! Have you ever had that uncontrollable laughing-crying-all-at-the-same-time experience?

It is pretty obvious why I was laughing, but I wanted to write this post to share the reason I was crying. When I heard her voice, very off tune, but totally genuine, I felt so pleased that she was singing to the Lord. As a parent, I want nothing more than to see my child surrender to Jesus Christ. In my pleasure, God revealed to me that the joy I received from hearing her belt out those words is a glimpse of what He feels when one of His creation gives their heart to Him.

She was not singing the right notes and in the musical sense, it was loud and terrible. It made me think of how sin makes my worship "off-tune" as well, and how the Bible tells me that my righteousness is but filthy rags.

Yet even so, my Heavenly Father delights in me. I thought about the phrase she sang, "Sin has left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow." Tears rolled down my face while my heart laughed with joy as God used her untamed voice and those powerful words to reveal a beautiful image to me...When my Father's weak, "off-tune" children surrender their will to Him and allow Him to wipe away their stains, I think God must have a holy laughing-crying-all-at-the-same-time experience.

We are so blessed to have a Father who wants us just as we are and delights in genuine worship. It does not matter how off-tune or stained we seem on earth because when we give Jesus our heart, to Him we are washed as white as snow.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Rise and Shine

This morning I saw 5am for the first time in a very long time. And I better get used to it because 5am and I have an appointment every Monday morning now.

I am teaching a 5am Zumba class on Monday mornings at Powerhouse Gym in Port Neches. I am very excited to have this opportunity.

As you probably can tell from past posts, I really like Zumba. It's fun instead of working out. I think I will enjoy teaching and getting exercise too. I just hope I can be on time for my 5am class :)

In case you were wondering, my seminary class is going really well too. My first assignment was due yesterday. It was just a mini-paper (500 words) on the inerrancy of God's Word. I think I did OK, but I don't know how much feedback I will get on my work. My professor is not required to grade my assignments since I am not taking it for credit. Hopefully he can find time to give me a little constructive criticism from time to time or at least let me know if I am on the right track.

You can definitely tell I am one of the only girls in my class since my male counterparts cited theological dissertations in their papers, and I cited Beth Moore. But who could not agree that Beth Moore rocks!

That's all I have for now. I must go run a few errands right now before I fall asleep while typing :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Ventures

So far I am thinking that 2011 will be a year of new things for me.

On Wednesday, I start Hermeneutics. It is a seminary class through Grace School of Theology that will teach me methods for deeper study of the Bible. I am not taking the class for credit, just for enrichment. Nevertheless, I am excited and a little nervous to be back in school again.

In four weeks I will also complete my certification training as a Zumba instructor. I have never been a fitness instructor before, but I have always wanted to. I LOVE Zumba and have been attending a class 3 times a week since the end of October. Jenna & my teacher encouraged me to get certified, and shortly after I signed up for the certification, a local gym called asking me to teach. Not everything with that has been finalized so I don't want to speak too quickly, but it looks like teaching Zumba will be added to my list of new ventures this year. More details will come soon. :)

Lance (who turns 31 on Sunday BTW) and I are going to Hampton, VA for a week in February with his work. I am looking forward to getting away with him. We are driving there, and we love taking road trips and stopping at unique places on the way. It should be fun!

We are also planning a family vacation to Playa Del Carmen in May. I love the Caribbean and can't wait to relax, have fun and eat all the resort food :) Good thing I will be doing Zumba!

I am excited about all the opportunities this year holds and grateful to God, from whom all blessing flow!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Perfect Sunday

Today was such a great day. I love teaching 3rd grade Sunday School. The kids end up teaching me more than I teach them some days.

My niece and nephew were also down this weekend, and since Mack was sick for Christmas we did not get to see them much then. It was nice to have lunch with them at my mom's after church and play with them today.

After lunch was probably my favorite part of the day. Lance built a fire and the three of us spent two hours sitting in front of the fire, talking and putting together a lego castle. We never even turned the television on today. We need more days like that.

What a perfect Sunday!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Momma

Today is my mom's birthday. I won't tell you how old she is because this post is really meant to honor her, and that might just make her mad. Ha Ha.

I think I have the greatest mom ever. She is giving, loving and very hardworking. I think I get my independent and determined spirit from her. She is a devoted wife, mother, teacher and child of God.

I am so glad she is my mom, and I hope that she has the best birthday ever!