Monday, December 28, 2009

Gifts from God...Privilege or Obligation?

Sometimes during the message at church, I catch something and then my mind starts racing on that one topic and then I feel like I am scrambling to catch up on everything I missed throughout my conscious rambling! I feel like I am so extremely uneducated on a lot of topics and there is so much growth ahead of me. I think that the difference now is that I want so badly to learn as much as I do the studying myself and to read a plethora of material in my journey and yearning to become closer to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is embarrassing for me, it is a major hit to my pride to publicly admit these weaknesses and faults that I have carried my entire life.

Yesterday's message at church was mind-boggling to me. PM used the scripture, 1 Samuel 14 - when Jonathan (son of Saul) attacks the Philistines. Jonathan is not a passive waiter during this story, instead he practices proactive waiting. Waiting for what? That is the question my ignorance led me to ask myself...then of course PM's message answers that question, and I actually caught the answer instead of allowing my mind to ramble on and on about how silly I felt about not being more aware of what the scripture says. But, as we have learned in a previous message, my goal of wanting to learn more about the bible is not to acquire more bible knowledge, but to acquire more GOD!! (Thanks, PM for sharing that message on Dec. 20th!) (More on how I plan to solve that problem a little later!)

Waiting for what? Many times in my life and especially here lately, I've heard and said..."I can't wait to see what happens...where God is going to lead me and my family." or "I am going to wait and when I see the sign...then I will know what it is that I am supposed to do!"

Now, I have said this to several of my close friends and really anyone who is willing to listen...I have never really understood what to "listen" for when people have said to follow what God is telling me. I just kept thinking, that I wonder why God isn't talking to me, but he is talking to everyone else. The problem wasn't that God wasn't trying to lead me or telling me what he wanted for my life, the problem was that I was much more interested in what I wanted for my life. I wasn't open to hearing God because it has always been about I I I I I...and this is true, even though my parents are amazing God loving Christians. I was raised in the church, my family was there pretty much every Sunday morning, night and Wednesday night. Even though I was given more opportunity than millions of people in the world, I still didn't open my eyes to truly understand, appreciate, and know God.

Okay, back to this week's message: First of all, my homework this week is to read, read, and re-read 1 Corinthians 12. I am ashamed of the fact that I am not familiar with that chapter...or many other chapters for that matter. Here is a question that I ask myself - What is my gift that God has given me to use in service towards others? Am I living up to the potential that God has given me? How am I going to be a servant to others? (My previous posts in the past week have been all leading up to this...I just didn't know it yet!) I need to LIVE LIFE on GOD'S TERMS...NOT on MY TERMS.

Another lesson learned - I need to keep pushing forward - I am tired of sitting back "to see what happens" - I am ready to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN!

In addition, we shouldn't live our life on the "sidelines" or live vicariously through others. I should be active, live my life for God, take actions and do God's work!

As I am looking at these lessons learned, I think about the thoughts, emotions, and motivations that I have been praying over and turning over and over in my all seems to go right together. I keep saying that I can't do anything about my desire or this pull toward wanting to be involved in missions and adoption. I keep thinking that I can't act on this right now, but DOWN THE ROAD...or IN THE FUTURE...or THIS SUMMER, etc...I will make a difference. I now resent that mentality that I have had...I have learned that God wants me to serve these children in our world by reaching out, teaching them, loving them, showing them God's love and devotion. I DON'T HAVE to wait, there are things that I can do here each and every single day towards this effort and area of need. This will be something that I will be searching for avenues to utilize to include my efforts!

So now that I have had this epiphany, what am I going to do about it? Well as cliche as it is...I am going to set some New Year's Resolutions! BUT...more importantly I am going to make these resolutions a habit, something that becomes a part of my life EVERY SINGLE DAY.

1. I am going to extend my daily prayer time with God by double. How can I expect to become closer to my Lord without dedicating a significant amount of time towards our relationship?

2. I am going to commit to reading and studying God's word each and every day. It may not be an entire chapter, but I want to read and study something from the bible until I understand what it truly means! Some ways that I plan to do this is by making the scripture something that I see on more of a regular basis (with post-it notes, index cards, or perhaps pictures made by my boys after discussing a bible lesson, etc.).

3. I also want to get involved in a women's bible study as soon as they get started again at church! I have actually learned a lot from reading some very inspirational blogs written by women who have extremely amazing faith in our Lord!

4. GET INVOLVED - research and discover ways that I can reach out to the children across the can I help from here on an EVERYDAY basis? Plan for this summer: missions - as soon as possible! (I used our finances as an excuse or an explanation as to why I wouldn't be able to participate in missions for a long time...but through prayer and dedication, God will help me to find a way).

5. Show my children and my husband each and every day God's love through my actions and words.

Finally, I have always been hesitant in setting goals such as these publicly, primarily because my failure would be known by many people whom I admire! However, by putting my self out on a limb, showing my insecurities, faults, and weaknesses I am asking for your prayer, support, and to help hold me accountable! Please know how difficult it is for me to make myself vulnerable in this way, but I am feeling drawn to share these things with many and to ask for help. (Help has also been something that is very hard to reach out for!) Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts! I will try to keep my blog updated with my progress...I know that as I continue to open myself up to my Lord that the changes that will take place will be evident without a need for explanation!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

As I was browsing through various blogs today, I found this video on my friend Laura's blog! It surprised and amazed me! I thought I would share...thanks for visiting!

The Christmas Holiday

As amazing and wonderful as Christmas always has been for our family, this year was no different. However, the major difference this year is that I have had my head in other places. I have mentioned numerous times to friends and family that I feel like I have been living my life in a TUNNEL. I have been aware but also extremely oblivious to the lives of God's children all over the world. As I am proudly watching the joy and excitement in my boys' eyes as they are experiencing the traditions of Christmas morning and unwrapping all their gifts...I am wondering to myself how many children across the world are not celebrating the birth of Christ. There are so many children across the world who have never received a gift on Christmas day or who have never heard the TRUE reason why we celebrate Christmas.

I can't help but think that God has been directly telling me that he has bigger plans for our family and I have a lot to do to prepare myself for our future. I don't think that we will be making any life-changing decisions in the near future. However, the weight of the emotions and thoughts that I have been having leads me to believe that I can start working towards supporting various families in missions and children who need love and care.

There are so many areas that I can help in from here, I just need some direction and guidance for delivery. When these thoughts first came to me back in September, and then multiplied by thousands on Dec. 19th, I thought that God was opening my heart only toward adoption. I believe that adoption is something that God is opening our hearts to and that it will come to us in the future. (As sad as it is, financially there are so many restraints that keep many families from opening their hearts and home to adoption. For our family, we are no different than everyone else! However, we are striving to overcome this obstacle so that we will be in a position to adopt in the next few years. Though the thing about life with God is that His plan may be completely different than ours! I am anxiously waiting to see what door He opens next for our family!)

In addition to adoption, I am feeling pulled towards the world of missions. This started when having a conversation with Laura from church! Alex and Laura are moving their family (4 beautiful children) to Honduras in the late Spring. I can't wait to learn more about their mission work and the plans that they have for their work and for their family! In addition to Laura's story, I have found numerous blogs of families who have committed their lives to missions world-wide. I would love to devote my time to gathering donations and supplies, and to spend time in prayer for these families who are making such a huge difference to people who would have never heard thee word of God if it weren't for them. I wonder where God is going to lead our family in the years to come!

Now, even as my head was swarming with all of the thoughts and wonders...we did have a very blessed Christmas! We are so lucky to provide for our children and to be close enough to all of our family so that we can enjoy their wonderful company during the holidays! Christmas is exhausting but only because of all the family we go to see and the meals we get to eat, and the gifts that we are fortunate enough to share and receive from our family and friends. This is all a wonderful problem to have, I just wish that we could make sure that we all remember the WHY in the day! It is easy to forget the WHY when you are running from house to house!!!

Thank you to all of our family for the amazing gifts and love that you have extended to us this year. We pray that everyone has a fantastic New Year! I will soon be posting our family resolutions...we will be sitting down and setting some goals as a family that we are going to try and work towards in 2010!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The World Is Our Classroom: A Hungry Child Has No Ears to Hear

A friend of mine from church posted this today, and it is right along the lines of everything that I have been thinking about, praying about, and dreaming about. Are you willing to stand up and take action to make changes?

The World Is Our Classroom: A Hungry Child Has No Ears to Hear

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Aaron Gebre Pratt - changing lives

December 19, 2009 - My brother in law, Aaron, and his wife, Whitney, came home from a journey to Ethiopia, Africa with their new son, Aaron Gebre Mekele Pratt. Mekele (this is what we are calling him) turned 7 months old on Sunday, December 20th! I would have never imagined how life changing this experience for them would be for me.

They began their adoption process at the end of December 2008. The adoption agency they went through is called All God's Children and this process has changed their lives forever.

I fell in love with their baby this past September when they received pictures of their beautiful baby boy that they had been matched with. It was at this point that the realization of God's miraculous hands were at work in the lives of these 3 individuals. The months following this initial phone call, Brian and I were fortunate enough to see the amazing growth and development in Aaron and Whitney as they prepared themselves, their home and their lives for their precious new addition.

Even though at that time I was aware of the significance of this experience, it was not until we were at the airport greeting Aaron, Whitney, and Mekele home that I realized that as I was watching and listening to everything they were going through in the past year, what was happening in me...God was constantly planting seeds in my heart. I will never forget the EXACT moment that I grasped what God was doing in me through watching them.

Now, Aaron has always been a caring individual, and I know he has passion for various things in his life, but I have NEVER known Aaron in this capacity. A father with unconditional love for his new son. The amazing work that God has done in Aaron's heart has moved me more than I could have ever thought! As I was witnessing this moment, I realized that there are so many more things in this world that are so much bigger than anything I had allowed myself to see or think about. I thought about the fact that I want so badly to reach out to the children in this world, God's children and to do whatever I can to make a difference in their lives. I have such a strong desire to share God's word! I know this is a bit confusing, but I truly believe that after having seen everything that it took for Aaron and Whitney to expand their family and the exhausting journey they travelled, and then to see this moment and to try and grasp the entire magnitude of everything combined from the last year, everything about this was God's work and it has effected many people.

Aaron and Whitney were also extremely generous in sharing their video footage that they took in Ethiopia! On Saturday afternoon, I was only able to watch a little bit of the video, enough to see all the many children at the orhpanage who were not being taken home to their permanent homes that day. There was more video to see, including the conversation that Aaron and Whitney were able to have with Mekele's birth mother. But, before that part of the video came on, I had to leave to go get Mason from the children's church singing practice and Christmas party.

Aaron, Gebre, and Me (THE VERY PROUD NEW AUNT!!)

The entire welcoming committee!!! Everyone is so very proud and extremely excited for Gebre's long-awaited arrival!

Aaron, Whitney, Gebre, Brian, Mason, and ME!!

So I went back to church and as Mason was playing with his friends from church during the children's Christmas party, I found myself in a very thoughtful, enlightening, emotional, and eye-opening conversation with an amazing woman. She is someone whom I admire a great deal and who lives her life for Christ each and every day. Laura and her family have adopted two beautiful boys from here in the United States and they have been called to serve God by working with orphanages internationally. Through our conversation, various thoughts and emotions that I had been experiencing the past couple of months, and throughout this past weekend starting falling into place. I feel that I have finally opened my heart and my mind to listen to what God is telling me, and to accept what possibilities there are to serve Christ and to share Him with others, especially children. There are still many ideas and thoughts swarming through my head. There are many more aspects to consider, to learn about, to study, and to pray about.

However, one thing that I am absolutely positive about...God is calling me to do bigger and go farther in His name. I can't wait to follow this path that he is leading me down and to see what He has in store for our future.

Me and my SWEET SWEET SWEET new nephew!! Aaron and Whitney are great parents and this precious boy is so amazing! The Lord is AMAZING!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Braydon Jacob Pratt - The Nursery!!!

So last week I went to the doctor and he said that Braydon was measuring small. They did a sonogram and everything looked fine, the reason for him measuring small was that he has already dropped. Soooo...I kind of freaked out because we had NOTHING done in the nursery yet! That day we went home and got started in the nursery! I am very proud of how the nursery turned I figured I give you a picture walk to see how it all came together!!! Each of my boys had an adorable nursery, but I never attempted stripes before now...and I love em'!!!
Mason and I started with the first coat of primer. He was so excited and such a BIG help!!

The primer was finished, but we had to do a second coat after this! Brian wanted me to use an older gallon of primer that we had left over from a paint job we did several months ago. Of course that wasn't enough, so we opened the new gallon...and WALLA...we had two different shades of primer on the wall...hence the blotchy look!!!

Brian was so proud that he was being such a big help!!! He really stepped up and did most all of the painting and he made me relax and not worry about what was going on in the nursery! This is one of the reasons I love him with all of my heart!!!

Friday night, Ryan and Shana Kriechbaum came over to help us with the stripes! THANK GOODNESS for Ryan and his mathematical talents! He did all the math and the measuring for the lines! I couldn't decide how I wanted to lines to look and I kept changing my mind...with Shana's help! Ryan was extremely patient and reworked the numbers each time we changed our minds!!!! Thanks friends!

As soon as the boys got the stripes taped off, Shana and I got started painting! We made sure to paint the 1st coat extremely thick so that we didn't have to go over it was close to 11pm on Friday and we were all exhausted!

ME...looking quite rough...but doing some touch ups after we already took the tape off!!!

I was so anxious to start getting everything out and organized...I had to see how the comforter looked with the wall!!! Also, for the record, this furniture in this room is the furniture I had when I was a baby! It was used for my younger sister, two of my cousins, Mason and Canon and now Braydon!! They just don't make furniture the same as they used to!!!
Mason was posing because he said that he LOVES his baby's room!!!

Getting all the crib stuff out...and I couldn't decide where I wanted to put ANYTHING!!!

Okay, so an hour later...the mess was obviously bigger, but I just decided to dive in!! I was having a blast doing it too!!! Even though I was doing it by myself...this is when Brian said he was OUT!!!

The finished product - Braydon's bed!!!

The picture wall - with no pictures in the frame!!

The bed in centered on the stripe wall!!! I also chose to take the poles off...I like it better like this!

Crib to changing table view!!! Brian actually hung the curtains yesterday...all by himself! It was a surprise to me!!! Thanks hun!

Dresser and closet and door!!!

I hope you enjoyed our journey to putting Bray's room together! I had fun doing it and now I am ready to put my precious boy in here!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mason's 3rd Surgery

So, our journey for Surgery #3 began!!! We found out in February that Mason would be having his 3rd surgery this summer. He would have a nasal reconstruction and cheiloplasty (reconstruction to his upper lip). We have been taking Mason to the International Craniofacial Institute with Dr. Genecov since he was born. I made our first phone call to Dr. Genecov on the day that Mason was born. We have been very blessed to have such an amazing Dr. and his staff be with us through everything.

On June 2, 2009...Brian, my mom, and I took the day off to take Mason through all of his pre-operation appointments. Our first appointment was at Raintree Pediatrics with Amber. We have been going to see Amber since Mason was born. We Love her!

Mimi went through this with us 100% of the way! On our way to the doctor this day, Mason was worried that he was going to get a shot. Brian and I assured him there would be NO SHOTS! Well, what we didn't think about was that they would have to take some blood by pricking his finger. OOPS!!! Poor baby!

While we were waiting to see Dr. Genecov, our 5th appointment of the day, Mason was getting a little restless! He is such a good kiddo and we are extremely blessed that the Lord has given him to us.


Mason's before picture! This was taken in the car on the way to the hospital the day of the surgery.

Mommy, Daddy, and Mason! We were in the waiting room at Forest Park Medical Center. This is the new hospital that Dr. Genecov is part owner in. His surgical group joined a number of other doctors and opened this facility.

Of course Mimi and Papa were there with us! Mason was patiently waiting to be taken back to get prepped for surgery!

Getting his temperature taken!

It was right after he changed into his gown that Mason started getting extremely nervous. He was crying and wanted his Mommy. The nurses gave him some coloring sheets and a little box of crayons, stickers, and goodies! We were trying desperatly to distract him and cheer him was a hard job to do!

The three of us! Mason, we love you with all of our hearts!

This is nurse Kelley, she was Mason's nurse in recovery. She came in to meet Mason! She gave him some "happy juice" to help calm him down. That stuff worked fantastic!!! He acted a little umm...intoxicated! He cheered up really quickly!

Mason begged Daddy and Mimi to put their "glasses" on! He was acting sooooo silly!

He even shoved tissue paper in his ears and he was laughing hysterically!


The nurses came and got me and Brian as soon as Mason was taken to recovery and they made sure that he was stable. He was still sleeping when we went back to see him. They had him on oxygen to help him come out of the anesthesia.

After Brian and I were able to hold his hands and give him kisses, I went and got Mimi and Grandma. I was trying to explain to them everything that Dr. Genecov and the nurses had been over with us. It's all kind of a blur now!! There was so much to take in!

He woke up!!! This is his after shot!!! He looks so great!

It didn't take long for Mason to ask for juice and pudding! He drank so many fluids we were nervous he was taking too much in too quickly, but he held it all in and did great!

Mason got to ride in a "TRANSFORMER" wheel chair on our way out of the hospital! He thought that he was so BIG and COOL! Nurse Kelley was awesome the entire time we were there!

Through each step of our lives, we grow as parents, as a family, and as children of God. We have been extremely fortunate to live in an area that provides such amazing technology and medicine to children. Our family and friends have been a HUGE support system for us and we are fortunate to have each and every one of them. God gave Mason to us for a reason and we take each and every day as a blessing and we thank Christ for everything he has done for our family.
Please check out the following website:
There is a lot of information provided on this site that explains a lot about cleft lips and palates. This is an organization the send doctors and other medical staff around the world to provide their services free of charge to children who are in need of correctional procedures for their cleft lips and palates. They are currently running a "Match Your Donation Challenge." They have a donor who has agreed to match any donation given to the organization. For only $240, a child in a third world country will be given an operation to fix their cleft lip/palate. This is something very close to our hearts and we adore this organization! There is also a website (, they do the same thing!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dinosaur World

We took a little family vacation last weekend to Glen Rose, Texas! This is home to Dinosaur Valley State Park, Dinosur World, and Fossil Rim. We drove down on Friday night and got there close to midnight. We were exhausted! Saturday morning we woke up and went to Dinosaur World! It is a small park set up with a playground, a fossil dig, a museum, and a trail walk that has over 100 life-size dinosaurs!! The boys loved every minute of it!

The family at Fossil Rim!!!

Our stop at Dairy Queen!!!

Canon's first ice cream cone!

The boys digging for fossils!

Us...standing in front of the LONG NECKS and SHARP TOOTH!!!

Canon playing on the dinos!

Mason loves Sharp funny!!

My boys!
The whole trip was fun, and we really needed the getaway! It was also probably the last big "outing" before Braydon joins our bunch!!
Stay tuned for more to come...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Spending Time Together

Soccer rules the world! No, not just rules our time! Brian took Mason to practice with him tonight, and he made Mason's entire week! Mason lives and breathes soccer, I love that the boys can share their passions! In the meantime, Canon and I have been hanging out and playing blocks, working on words, and spending some good quality time together! I worry about my time with Canon after BRAYDON is born. (That's right, we changed the spelling of the name!) But, I think I will just have to make sure that Canon gets his one on one time through all the craziness of having 3 boys, work, soccer, church, and other activities!

We are all super ready for Braydon to be born, and we still have 9 1/2 weeks...YIKES! It seems so far away still! My work gave me a beautiful baby shower and we got a lot of fun baby stuff, and LOTS of diapers! Thanks to everyone I work with! I am so blessed to get to work with such an amazing faculty!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Family

The family at Grandma and Grandpa White's 50th wedding anniversary!!! It was back in February, but I wanted to share a picture of the the whole family together!

Where Are We Now?

Where are we now? Well, let's see...

Mason is almost 4 1/2, he loves playing soccer, wii, doing puzzles, drawing, spelling, and reading!

Canon is 21 months old, and OH MAN...he LOVES to do anything his big brother is doing! He will follow Mason around all day long and be perfectly content doing so!

Brian is coaching for FC Dallas and is a P.E. Coach in Plano. He is a hard worker, a wonderful provider, and amazing father, and the best soul mate one could ask for.

I am teaching in Anna, and loving it! I take pride in being a wife and mommy. We are currently 7 months pregnant with our third baby boy! Bradon Jacob Pratt. We look forward to him joining our family in about 10 weeks!!

Stay tuned for more about the PRATT's!