Monday, June 13, 2011

Hilton Head 2011


Since I discovered that I can turn my blog into a book at the end of the year, I am going to blog a whole lot more! This years annual beach trip included the Henleys and the Niederfringers. It was a great time. 11 people, 2 bedroom condo, too many trips to the beach where kids were covered in sand, yummy food, great fellowship, limited melt-downs, SOOO much sunscreen, wonderful bike rides, sand castles, naps, and Sequence. We love Hilton head.


6 months...give or take a couple weeks.

 We finally had Jay's 6 month doctor appointment.  Our "little guy" is 19 lbs and 28 inches long!  In case you are wondering...that's a pretty big kid.  He is so happy and has been eating a lot of different food already.  Here is a good picture of him and his happy self. 


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jay's Dedication

Here is a picture from Jay's dedication. We also wrote a letter to him that I am going to share here because then it's somewhere that I can't lose it when one day, I want him to read it:)! Also, it will help all the family from back home feel a little like they got to be a part of the dedication.

We want to celebrate today the miracle and gift God has given us in you. We want to dedicate you to Lord knowing that He is the giver of life and it is He that has entrusted you to us for a short time. You come into this world helpless, in need of care and love and protection. But we, as your parents, commit to so much more than that. We commit you to the Lord and we commit ourselves to bringing you up with a love and reverence for Him and also to have a deep love for people.
We named you Jay after your mommy’s grandpa. He was a man of God who loved life and loved those around him. He was joyful and always had a song to sing and a joke to tell. He was generous and kind, giving to anyone that needed anything. He was wonderful husband and father and though you will never meet him, we want you to know the meaning behind the name we have given you.
Your mother and I are very different but one common characteristic is our heart for people. We want our children to also have a heart that longs to love people. God has a heart that never gives up but always works to make beautiful and make whole that which is broken and lost….a redeeming heart. This is why we chose Redeem as your middle name. We have been redeemed by the blood of Christ and want our children to also know that our Redeemer lives and He can redeem that which is broken and lost.
We are so thankful for you dearest Jay. Your life so far has been filled with smiles and cuddles and happiness around your big sister. You are loved by your heavenly father and you are loved by us. You are also loved by a wonderful community of friends and believers who are here today to hold us accountable teaching you about our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our prayer is that you will know Him and desire to serve him as you grow into a man. We are glad you are our son! Love, Mom and Dad

The Call...Our Mission Year Story.

It was 6 years ago this week (give or take few days) that I got a call from the Mission Year recruiting department. "Hey Ashlee, just wanted to let you and Caleb know that you are accepted for Mission Year in the fall and we are excited to have you guys in Atlanta." Excitement, panic, joy-emotions filled my head and heart. We were really going to do it. We had decided that if they accepted us, we were headed to Atlanta. I called Caleb and we immediately began preparations (such great planners we are!).

p.s. (R)This was the picture I sent with my MY application. I guess I was REALLY enthusiastic (and liked hot pink?) Somehow, they still accepted us:) The other picture is our last night in our K-town apartment eating cereal out of anything we could find.

It all started during a spring break trip to Atlanta. We connected with the Mission Year married team who was living on Atlanta's Westside. They shared their hearts with us and told us about their year of serving. We got to meet Leroy Barber who came to their apartment, bought us pizza, and got me hooked on this idea of taking a year of my life (and my husband's life) to live intentionally, love Jesus, and love the people around me. Sounded simple, right?:). After MANY conversations, Caleb and I were sure that this was what we had been looking for. We knew we loved the City, we felt called to serve the poor, and we loved Jesus a lot. When else were we going to have the chance to give away all our stuff (for some reason I guess we weren't thinking we might actually NEED "stuff" when we got done with Mission Year), quit our jobs, and move to a new place to serve alongside people with similar hearts for ministry?

Our next call...this time it was Jeff Delp (one of our City Directors) telling us that he had found the house we were going to live in. "Excuse me, 1 house...for all three couples?" I guess they had decided to "try out" putting the married teams in one house. I am now more grateful for that call than I could describe. Our time of intentional community produced 4 of the most amazing friendships we have ever known.

And then there was the call to my parents..."Mom and Dad, as it would turn out, we love it here and really feel like God is calling us to stay in Atlanta." It only took one year for us to realize that this was home.

We now get to serve with Mission Year in the role of Mission Year married City Directors. We could not be more excited to see teams arrive this fall and watch them begin a journey that so deeply impacted the direction of our lives. Not everyone stays in the city and that is totally fine but no matter where you go after, life will be different. We are different because of a decision we made to take a year away from everything we knew and trust that God had a plan for us.