Saturday, December 22, 2007

NEW song from Madison and Hannah

While hanging out today, Madison and Hannah wrote a brand new song. Enjoy the latest hit single from the duo that calls themselves the Jesus Freaks. Here it is..."Who's That Boy?"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Carols and Candlelight 2007

These are pics from Sunday night's Carols and Candlelight service--our church's very elegant, choir and orchestra, candlelight service. It really was a beautiful night.  It was a landmark night for me personally because I WORE A CHOIR ROBE!!! This was my very first time to wear a choir robe and sing in and ADULT CHURCH CHOIR!!! I must say that I enjoyed it (the singing, not the robe) very much.  Standing next to Janell made it fun! Stephen did a wonderful job emcee-ing (is that a word? probably not!).  Take note of just how gorgeous the sanctuary looks with  all the Christmas decorations up.  Last year my precious friend, Tara, came up from Houston to help the girls and me arrange all the tree toppers, wreaths, swags, and garlands.  It looked stunningly beautiful again this year with the poinsettias and lights. 












Monday, December 17, 2007

Medieval Christmas at our church

Amazing song from an amazing night. Kemper Crabb and band do "Down in Yon Forest" on Dec. 9th.

What a weekend!

Wow! So much happened over the weekend! Maw-Maw (Stephen's mom) came to Irving Friday night (in all that terrible rain!). We were so happy to see her.  On Saturday, my parents came into town. . more hugs and kisses. I made Olive Garden's Pasta Fagoli Soup for supper, and I'll just tell you--it was yummy!

Then. . on Sunday morning. . .the reason our sweet family came to town. . 

 
Madison was baptized by Pastor John. What a thrill! She had such a sweetness about her--she was so excited and honored by all the people who stood in support of her decision and her witness.  An incredible moment. . beyond words that I can form. . . 

Stuart (Stephen's brother) and his precious wife, Nicole, were there to celebrate with Madison. . .and we just can't pass up an opportunity to play with Stuart. He is one incredible guitar player!! As is my handsome husband! He just is made to be playing that guitar. . I think he was looking EXTRA cute!

Then we came home and had a celebration lunch (pot roast with carrots and potatoes). . also incredibly yummy!!!

Here are a few pics of the kids in their Christmas get-up.





Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Caden Report . .

I haven't given an update on my nephew Caden lately, and some of you may be wondering how that precious boy is doing. My sister just gave the latest report on her blog, and if you'd like to see it, hop on over to

thelilleyfamily.blogspot.com

It's worth zipping over to see a picture of his adorable little face!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Maddie as Mary




Look at my sweet Madison! She was Mary in our church's Family Christmas program last night. Our High 5 Choir (elementary choir) sang several songs and created a manger scene. Maddie was escatic on Wednesday night when she found out that she would get to be Mary. . . and she did a wonderful job. Here's another picture.



Also, in another performance, the Durham's came over Friday night for smores and fun, and the kids put on a little play. . .




Lots of fun! What an adventure to be 7 1/2. What an adventure to be the mom of a 7 1/2 year old!

Our weekend was full with a quick trip to lead worship at Faithbridge UMC in northwest Houston. It was a great morning, and as a wonderful bonus, we got to spend Saturday night with our precious friends, the Hills. I could go on and on about what a great time we had. . .it was so refreshing to spend time with them!

So.. . busy weekend. . full and wonderful!






Thursday, November 29, 2007

These hands are made for building




My Jackson is "all boy" as they say. He was in the backyard A LOT yesterday working on his "building site" (that's what he calls it). What was he building? A building, of course.

What will he build with these precious hands through the years? Only God knows. As I assisted in the building, sitting out in the sunshine with my son, I just kept hearing the phrase "build the kingdom" and I just kept praying that Jackson's life and his precious hands will build God's kingdom. He is so full of imaginative possibilities. . .he wants to be a mechanic one moment, a "knuckle fighter" the next (that would be a boxer!), a drummer in a band (currently called "The Little Smith Band") or a tractor-driver. I'm so glad that God sees the end from the beginning. He knows why he created boys--and my boy!--with this inner drive to BUILD. So. . I'm back to wondering what he'll build with those hands of his? Only God knows. And I can't wait to see.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving! We had a wonderful week in Houston.  John Durham, our pastor at FBC Irving, said something that really impacted me this morning. He said, "There's a big difference between feeling thankful and truly giving thanks to the One who is the giver of all things."  I've been feeling very thankful all week. . . but have I truly worshipped Jesus in thankfulness? 

Here's a verse the kids and I sing frequently. . . "Give thanks to God in everything." 1 Thess. 5:18

Happy Thanks-giving!



The kids and me

The Smith family (pre-turkey!)

The kids with Great-mama

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hope's Milestones

WOW! Our Baby Hope is 7 1/2 months old! In the last month she has learned to sit up, wave bye-bye, clap her hands, and say "ba-ba" (bottle-her first word!) and "da-da" (Daddy). Obviously, I'm pushing hard for "mama" now! :)

I'm telling you, she is precious beyond belief! Anyone who is ever around her is as amazed as I am by her sweeter than sweet disposition! She is the most easy-going, good-natured, gentle-tempered little girl. I've thought several times that baby Jesus may not have been sweeter than baby Hope! She's just that good!

Here are 2 pics of our sitting up, hand-clapping, book-reading-genius baby Hope! Enjoy!








Thursday, November 8, 2007

Boys and Girls Country

Stephen, Hope, and I did a quick zip-to-Houston trip Tuesday night to participate in a wonderful event. It was a huge gala at the Hilton of the Americas in downtown Houston. Stephen's creative services company (Maddstar) has been working over the last 3 years with a special organization called Boys and Girls Country. He has literally been working since last January on all the various publications, invitations, signs, etc. for Boys and Girls Country's Heritage Award Dinner and Gala evening, so we were excited to cross this "finish line" and to get to attend the event. One of the best parts of the evening was when Stephen led the choir (The Heritage Award Singers) made up of about 35 children from the Home in singing "We're All in this Together" from High School Musical 2. It was so precious to see these children of all ages (elementary to high school) singing and clapping! They were too cute! We have been so grateful that Maddstar (through one of Boys and Girls Country's board members) has been able to be part of this event. I think everyone there (nearly 1300 people) had to have been blown away how wonderful it is that the leaders of B&GC truly are committed to these children who cannot-for various reasons-live with their biological families. They truly become their family and they raise them up in a Christian community.

Way to go Stephen!!

Way to go Boys and Girls Country!


As an added bonus. . we got to stay with my parents and go see Baby Caden and Melody on Wed. morning before heading back to Dallas. Caden is absolutely beautiful!! He looks so good! He is feeding completely without an IV, and it looks very hopeful that he'll be able to be home before Thanksgiving! Yea!! Praise the Lord! Thank you--again--to all of you sweet friends who have prayed for Caden. Please pray things will continue to go smoothly so that we can have in home for Thanksgiving! Also, please keep praying for Melody and Nathan. They are doing well, and God is gracing them with strength and wisdom.

Here's a picture of Hope from Monday night. . can you say "Time Change"? We're still adjusting. .






Here's a picture from Sunday night (Maddie is middle row, far right). Madison sang with our High 5 Kids Choir Sunday night and they did such a great job! Afterward, the Jones' came over for Sunday-night-pancakes and a little football watching! We are grateful for the Jones' and all they do for our church! They are amazing! (wish I'd taken a picture of little Jackson Jones. . . you can see one on Amanda's blog)



One more "snapshot" from Smith-world. . . . As I was telling Madison good night last night she very seriously said "Mom, maybe I can be the President one day." I proudly thought "Wow. I'm so glad to see her confidence, her desire to be a leader, to make a difference. . ". Then she said, "I'd make a rule that kids can eat candy and hang their heads out the window whenever they want to." WHAT?!?!?! Now I know, of course, that candy-consumption is a big deal, but hanging your head out the window??? Who knew that was so important to a kid? I just laughed and said "Good-night".

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Pics


We had fun-filled night night! We dressed up as 3 cheerleaders, 1 basketball player, and 1 coach. . . TEAM SMITH!!! We went to our church's Fall-a-Palooza for candy, games, blow-up slides, cake-walks, and a costume contest. Then, we made it home in time for some neighborhood trick-or-treating. Jackson didn't remember that we get to do a "candy hunt" on Halloween (and I apparently forgot to give him the heads-up about the whole candy thing!), so he was pretty excited. Madison, of course, needed no reminding--she was ready! And sweet Hope. . she was just happy to be there! Stephen was the coach, but I'm afraid that I didn't ever get a picture of him on our camera! We did get one family picture of TEAM SMITH, but it was the "official" picture taken at church, and we'll have to get a copy of it later. Anyway, enjoy these cuties from TEAM SMITH!


The annual costume contest. . . (Jackson is the basketball player on the right)


Maddie playing putt-putt


Me and the kids


Our Basketball All-Star!!!


Team Smith-Kids!


Go-o-o-o-o-o-o Team Smith!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hope finds her voice!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Funny (?) Story from Monday

We've all had those moments when we walk into a room and feel anxious--embarrassed--unsure--humiliated--mortified--you know, that sinking feeling?

Well, my sweet Madison had just such a day on Monday, but it worked out great and a "miracle" happened!


Last Thursday when our family was quickly making our way to Houston, Madison came home with a bright red sheet of paper announcing that this week was Drug Free week. To reinforce the message, they students were to dress up each day in a different way (crazy socks, camouflage, etc). Well, it listed that on Monday "Banana Puddin' would be presented in the cafeteria at 1:30 and the children are to wear a numbered jersey". OK, WHO or WHAT is "Banana Puddin'" and WHY would that have anything to do with a jersey??? I don't know! But, of course, I was congratulating myself on Monday morning when I actually remembered to put Madison in a jersey for school. (I was also thankful to Stephen's mom because she had just brought this pink A&M jersey to Maddie a couple of weeks before. Yea!) So, we put her in the pink jersey, put her hair in a pony tail, slipped on her wind breaker, and sent her off to school.

Well, when she got to school, she immediately realized that she was the only one with a jersey shirt on!!!! Everyone else was wearing camouflage!!!! Turns out, they had sent home a REVISED Red Ribbon note on Friday because now "Banana Puddin' will be presented on WEDNESDAY in the cafeteria at 1:30 and the children are to wear their numbered jerseys on WEDNESDAY and their CAMO on Monday"!!!! YIKES! Can they do that??? Well, they did!

So, Madison quickly zipped up her jacket, carefully stuffing the edges of the jersey under the jacket, and she asked her teacher to go to the bathroom. When she got to the bathroom she took off the jersey and just had on the long-sleeved white T-shirt that had been under the jersey. Then she prayed for a miracle.

When she got back to her classroom, she looked in her desk and there was a purple camo headband she had left one day awhile back!!! A MIRACLE!!! Her friend Haily helped her brush out her hair and get her head band on. Fortunately the dress-code rules were a little bit lax and her teacher didn't say anything about the collar-less white T-shirt. My sweet Madison wore that purple camo headband and made it home with the jersey. . . to wear on Wednesday. .. when "Banana Puddin'"-which turned out to be some monkey puppets--did their drug free message!

When she got home she told me how she had prayed for a miracle in the bathroom that morning. . .and got one! :)


Oh, and the doctors DID get the PICC line into baby Caden and he's had a pretty smooth Friday and Saturday. Thank you for praying for them. Keep praying for our baby boy and my sweet sister and brother-in-law. Thanks!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Today

I'm headed back to Irving at lunch time today, and I can't wait to see my wonderful husband and 2 big kids! They are unspeakably precious to me, and I'm grateful beyond words that they've been so great about supporting my Houston trip this week. They are amazing!

Last night was really good for us (Mel, Nathan, mom, dad, me) because we LAUGHED so much!!! First off, Melody and I do NOT have a good understanding of human anatomy, and we had some serious mis-conceptions about all that Caden is going through! Believe me, it was pretty funny! We also talked about some old stories that had us laughing like crazy--very therapeutic! My mom fixed (a good Texas word!) us a good supper and then we went up to the hospital about 8:30 to see baby Caden. . but we didn't get to see him after all, and we left at about 10:30.

Caden's day yesterday was full of poking! They are trying to get a pic (how DO you spell that?) line in (it replaces an IV line), and they just didn't get it. They had spent a lot of time in the morning and then lots of time in the evening trying to thread it in, but poor baby, it just didn't work. They are going to try again this morning--so that's what we're praying for today. If they don't get it, then they'll likely do a "port" which means another surgery--which we don't want him to have to do!

The good news is that he's now "extibated" which means the tube down his throat is out and he's breathing completely without a machine being there to help.

Thank you, friends, for your love and support! Let's pray that pic line in this morning and ask God for a smooth day for baby Caden!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My sweet nephew and my awesome husband

Baby Caden came through his surgery "very well" this afternoon. We are praising God and calling on him, Jehovah Rapha, for Caden's complete recovery. They removed the blockage by removing a small portion of his small intestine. He'll be sedated for the next 2-3 days and then they'll begin trying to feed him.

Melody and Nathan are holding up. God is gracing them with strength to make it, but I know they are so tired. I keep thinking "Melody just gave birth not quite 5 days ago, and here she is having to be up and gone from home all day long. . sitting at the hospital and in restaurants. . just having these long, full days."


Now, I must say that Stephen totally gets the husband of the year award! He is so awesome and things at home have been going so smoothly at home. . more grace! Thank you, Lord!

You can see pics of Caden and more updates at:

thelilleyfamily.blogspot.com

You are awesome friends and I'm so grateful for your prayers and support!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Baby Caden Joseph Lilley




I'm so excited to announce baby Caden's arrival! My sister and brother-in-law, Melody and Nathan, have their first baby--and he is gorgeous! So sweet and adorable! Melody's doctor sent her to the hospital from her appointment on Thursday. We got the call in Dallas at about 12:30, packed our family, and headed to Houston at 2:30! We made it to the hospital in plenty of time. . He is a midnight baby--born officially at 12:02 AM on Friday the 19th. He was 7 lb, and he is just so cute!

I am sending out a call for prayer for baby Caden. He has a GI blockage that put him in the baby ICU yesterday afternoon. He hasn't passed the miconium--the first poo poo. They've been doing lots of observation. . and finally gave him something this afternoon at 5:00 pm to help him pass the blockage. It takes about 6 hours to work, so we won't hear anything until the morning. It's actually a fairly "acute" issue that must be dealt with, but we are trusting God! All things are possible! Melody was discharged from the hospital today, and Caden will be in for at least a week if not more, so it's going to be difficult. . . .lots of unknowns about the week ahead. . . . so please pray for Caden, Melody, and Nathan! We just love them so much!

Thank you!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hello out there!

To all my blog-world friends, I am so sad that I have not been properly
updating my blog! And I really have a lot to say! I've been wanting to
give the baby Hope update--she's 6 months old now!!, I've wanted to
tell you about our First Irving women's retreat--God was so faithful!!,
I've wanted to share about our book club progress--check out that blog
at firstirvingbookclub.blogspot.com, and I've wanted to give updates on
Madison--I'm totally seeing evidence of the Holy Spirit working in her
life AND she made all A's on her report card--and on Jackson--he's a
crazy man! Also, my sister is about to have her baby boy any day, and
we're just so excited!

That's the super short version! I'm
afraid that a super long blog will be coming up (hopefully) with the
full update, but for now, here are some pictures from Hope's 6 month
old photo shoot to ooooohhh and aaaaahhhhh over! :)






Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Here's my deep thought for the week. . sometimes they are too few and far between! :)

On Tuesday of this week our Jackson had an outpatient procedure done that we believe is for his good. . but it was oh, so hard when he was hurting so badly in the recovery room. Thank you, God, that he is doing GREAT now. . even by yesterday afternoon he was feeling great. This definately got me thinking, though. . . what we required of Jackson caused him pain but we knew it would be worth it and for his good. In a similar way, sometimes God totally requires us to go through something that causes us great pain. . and He knows that it will. . .but He knows it will be worth it and for our good. We've never had to make such a dramatic decision for one of our children before--and it was not easy, even though it was right! It was actually MORE loving for us to require this of him than it would have been to let the issue slide.

When God requires you or me to go through a painful season or situation, what does He ask of us? To love Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, all our strength. To TRUST Him. To choose to praise Him when we can't see His hand YET. This is how the healing process begins in us.. how He turns our mourning into dancing, our weeping into joy.

For now, I'm thankful that my Jacks-man is doing so well. . and I'm thanful that God's loving-kindness is never failing.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Praise be to God!

He has called my Maddie girl to Himself! She has answered in faith--to be a follower of Jesus! I know many friends and family have joined me in fervently praying for her salvation this summer. God is faithful!

Over the last month we've had more frequent conversations about salvation, and about a month ago, she said that she wasn't ready to become a Christian because she knew that it was such an important decision. She didn't want to just make it easily. I, of course, did not push her. I was glad that she wasn't rushing it . she was seriously weighing this decision.

Over the last week, she's initiated conversations with Stephen and/or me everyday, and Wednesday after church she told me she was ready. In my spirit, I felt a true peace, too. This was HER deal. . she understood what she was doing! She talked to Stephen Thursday, and we set a plan to talk all together after school today. This morning, just about her first words were "can we still pray after school for me to ask Jesus in my heart?".

So. . after school, God mercifully let Jackson take a NAP on the couch (a truly first time event--a miracle), Hope was in her bed, and Stephen, Madison, and I sat on our bed to talk. We asked her questions (again) about what it means to be a Christian. She described that she had a black heart--and how awful it felt! She said it feels like when you get a shot, and then you fall in the mud and hurt it, and nothing you can do can get all the mud off! Only Jesus can wash the mud off and heal the bo-bo. Then she said she now has a pink heart--which meant she was between red (understanding Jesus' blood can cover her) and white (washed clean). It was a precious, simple conversation. We read several scriptures from Romans, particularly about believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth that Jesus is LORD--the leader of your life!

She said that she was ready. She wanted to pray and ask Jesus to be the leader of her life so that she can follow him. We prayed together. . . and a baby Christian was born right before our eyes! Thank you, God!

There aren't words! My heart is so full of thanksgiving! He called her. . she responded in faith. She said, "I know Jesus is calling my name." Hallelujah!

She excitedly made a few phone calls and hollared over the fence to our neighbors! :)

Thank you, sweet friends and family, who have joined me in praying for Maddie. Please continue. . :) The journey is beginning. A whole new chapter of her life is beginning. She's just so sweet and gentle and kind and funny and clever. . and a CHRISTIAN!!! Thank you, God!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My new favorite CD is. . .

Caedmon's Call--Overdressed!!

I love it! Go get it! It's the new soundtrack of my day.

Enjoy!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Libby Lou Girls

Last night Madison and Hannah celebrated Addison' H.'s 8th bday at the North Park Libby Lou--Hannah Montana style! Oh, my goodness! They were adorable and had a ball!


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Book Club


I am so excited about something that started last night at our church. . our very first ladies book club! Since I'm such a reader, this is right up my alley! We are reading an amazing book for moms called Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman. It is AWESOME! The whole premise is to re-format your thinking as a mom to use scripture to train your children and to use scripture to probe the hearts of your children. I was blown away that we had 19 ladies there last night, and I know of at least 4 more that are reading it with us, too! AMAZING!!! God is doing a new thing in the hearts of our women at FBCI. My sweet friend and partner in so many projects, Amber, made a blog for our book club, and you are welcome to check it out at http://firstirvingbookclub.blogspot.com/. If you know of more moms who might want to read it along with us, pass this on. It is NOT a big time-commitment, and it is NOT workbook/homework style, and it IS powerful! We are praying for great things!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Questions Jackson has asked today (that I can remember) by 1:45 pm

Can I wake up Maddie?
Can you take me potty?
Can you wipe my bottom?
Can you get me some milk?
Can you turn on cartoons for me?
Can you get me some breakfast?
Why aren't we going to church?
What is her dog's name? (A random lady we passed.)
Why is she outside?
Why are we lost? (We weren't--he just knows our usual routes.)
Why is that big rig naked? (It had no trailor attached.)
Can we shout out "naked bug" everytime we see a big rig or bus? (Yes, we can. And did.)
Why is that man riding that wheel chair? (A large man at the grocery store on a motorized buggie.)
Is that lady big? (The one we just squeezed past near the Target restroom.)
Why are those birds up there?
Why are those ladies in their wheel chairs sitting under the trees? (Waiting for the bus, maybe?)
Can you take me potty?
Can you get me some more milk?
Can you play with me?
Can you fix my car?
When will Maddie get home?
Can you read me my Bible?
Can you read me the part when Jesus died?
Why did Jesus die?
Can you take me potty?
Can you turn the light on in there?
Can you get me some more milk?
Do you remember when I was a baby? (Yes.)
Can we play when I wake up?
Where does Titus live?
Can we move by Titus' house?
Why is she (Hope) crying? (Waiting for her bottle.)
Can I play with my trucks?
When will Maddie get home?
Can you take me potty?

And on it goes. . .life with a precious 3 year old boy! I love my Jackson-boy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Psalm 40

Psalm 40 has beckoned me to stay awhile and plumb the depths. Thought I'd share it with you. .

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.
Blessed is the man
who makes the Lord his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, O Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but my ears you have pierced,
burnt offerings and sin offerings
you did not require.
Then I said, "Here I am, I have come--
it is written about me in the scroll.
I desire to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart."
I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
I do not conceal your love and your truth
from the great assembly.
Do not withhold your mercy from me, O Lord;
may your love and your truth always protect me.
For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.
Be please, O LORD to save me;
O LORD, come quickly to help me.
May all who seek to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
May all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
May those who say to me, "Aha! Aha!"
be appalled at their own shame.
But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation always say,
"The LORD be exalted!"
Yet I am poor and need;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, do not delay.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Beach Trip 2007

We are so grateful to my parents for our 3rd annual Labor Day Beach Get-Away! Here's our weekend in pictures (just pardon the un-rotated ones. . I was experiencing technical difficulties!). Enjoy! AND. . Happy Birthday to my sister (yesterday) and my dad (today)!!!