Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hello, 2018!!

After celebrating Christmas in Anacoco, we drove back to Toledo Bend to spend a few days at the camp. Nana and Paw came with us and we had such a great time being together to ring in the New Year!! It was coooold, but we didn't mind bundling up!!

My sweet little hunter woman.

She loved this bow and arrow!!  She's girly, but she can most definitely hang with the boys!!

Pink cheeks and big smiles were on all our faces!!
We watched lots of tv (a total treat for us!), took several walks, and once even cuddled up at the boat dock to watch the waves roll in. Although it was freeeezing, I absolutely loved it. What is it about a big breeze and gorgeous views that make you feel so energized and alive?!  We curled up and sang our Thanksgiving hymn, "For the Beauty of the Earth," together.  It was such a perfect moment to worship our Creator!!

And all that hiking and low temps made for very sleepy, snuggly babies at night!!

This is how Samuel truly fell asleep, hahaha!!

The best kind of tired!!

At midnight, we woke up Savannah and Andrew to come watch the ball drop with us in the living room, as per their request.  They were completely out of it, haha!!  We all gave kisses and then went straight to bed. The next morning, Paw and Nan returned from their wild night in Shreveport, ha! And they brought back lots of fun souvenirs for the kids!!

HAAAAAAPPY NEW YEAR!!! (Show Boat, yesssss. You can't say this correctly until you've watched it. It's one of our most favorite family phrases!!)

We love youuuu, Big Maw Maw!!  Hot chocolate for breakfast for the win.

Nan and those two baby boys are just too sweet in this one!!

What a wonderful way to welcome the new year!!
Ahhh, 2018.  Fresh starts, new mercies, beginning again.. why is a clean slate always so refreshing??  I look forward to it every year. I love looking back and reflecting on how I've changed personally, how our family has grown, and imagining all the things I want to continue/change for the upcoming year.  I learned so many lessons in 2017 - some were painful, some were profound, all were purposeful.

There was one reoccurring theme that the Lord continually brought before Wade and me this past year.. to prayerfully consider what was most important to our family and prune out all the rest. It's an uncomfortable process, difficult and tender, but the new life available afterwards is worth every hard cut.

Recognizing what brought our family together and trimming away the things that no longer served us well was revitalizing, freeing. All that deviated from what Wade and I wanted for our family could be changed. We found ourselves scaling back, saying no, and creating margin for what we desired our lives to look like. We learned to say no to things like party invitations, road trips, All-Stars competitions, extra church activities, and even co-op, simply because it would not serve our family well in this season.

And while I was filled with explanations, guilt, and defenses at first, I learned that saying no is really saying yes to what's better for my family.  I"m saying yes to cookies and milk with our neighborhood friends, waves and smiles every Friday for our trash collectors, wildflowers in the mailbox for our mailman, and cups of hot chocolate for anyone who happens to stop by. I'm saying yes to Saturday family walks at Buhlow, spring night ball games, jumping in the ditches, running the front-yard bases, and the freedom to stay in simply because we need the rest.

 It's saying yes to the foremost ministry the Lord has given me - my family.

The benefit is more than just the bonds we are building, the friendships we are forming, or the way this is slowing down our time together. It is recognizing that home is our favorite place to be.  It is knowing that the faces around the table are the ones we can always trust to tell us the truth. To focus our hearts on the One who gave us to each other. To encourage and embolden one another in our Kingdom's work. It is knowing the seven of us will go out, side-by-side, to tell the world of Christ.

It doesn't mean we don't have moments of crazy and chaos and living on the go.. but I know it won't last for long. The Lord was kind when He showed us a way out of the fast lane. It was as simple (and as difficult) as saying no in order to do what's best for my family. Pruning away is a daring decision - sometimes stressful, always rewarding. The plans that I say yes to now mean that I am there, totally and fully. I want to be wholeheartedly immersed in the moment, saturating myself in the freckles and sunshine and goodness around me.

Elizabeth Elliot wrote, "The devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds.  He will not allow quietness." Yet it is the quiet I desire. The peace that surpasses all understanding. The rest necessary to fully embrace all the blessings the Lord has given me in this life.

My five little disciples sit at my feet every morning, relying on me to protect their quiet. I guard our home and our time, leaving unhurried, unscheduled days for them to learn and grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We are busy, of course, but busy in a new and wonderful way. Busy enjoying the gift of each other, no longer overwhelmed with the invitations and opportunities that would gladly claim our time. We are learning what fits our family and fulfill the vision the Lord has given us for our Poole Party of 7. In this new year, may God go before us, guiding our yes's and no's, so that our time here would be well-spent, bringing glory and blessing to His name.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Christmas In Anacoco

The weekend of New Years, we drove up to our favorite retreat - the camp at Toledo Bend!!  It's much closer to Anacoco, where our family was getting together to celebrate Brinker Family Christmas!!

We drove over to spend the day at Heather's house and she had hot chocolate, apple cider, and queso waiting!!

As well as chips and dips..

..and the most beautiful cups of coffee!!

Kurt and Mandy drove in and we had the BEST time visiting with them!!

Love my Mandy!!

Hahaa, Kurtieeee!!

My sweet Wadie, still writing me love notes 18 years later. ;)  I love youuu, my boo boo bear!!

We all enjoyed lots of Christmas snuggles!!

I can't believe I forgot to take pictures of Christmas dinner, wahhhh!! We had a delicious baked potato bar, which was SO easy and SO fun!! But Mom made TWO of her perfect tea rings for dessert, and obviously, that is what's most important, haha!!

Me and Cal were fighting over the gooey inside center pieces, ha!!

Thanks to Kurt's genius idea, we all went in together to get Mom and Dad a battery pack system so that they can have electricity out at the property!! 

Grammie working on unwrapping it..

Yaaaayyyyy!!!  I think she loves it!!!

Being so excited and thanking Jesus for electricity, hahaha!!  Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad!!

So thankful for my 3 sweet sisters!!

And then it was PRESENT TIME for the kiddos!!!  Grammie and Pops were like Santa Claus with their huge sacks of gifts!!

Starting with the smallest, we watched and celebrated as each person opened their new prize, one at a time, just like we did growing up!!

Sadie loved getting to play with Baby Rhett's new puppets!!

Soccer balls, fire trucks, new swings, and scooters.. the kids were so excited!!

Thank you, Hezzy, for always being such a wonderful hostess!!

Baby Rhett enjoyed all the extra Christmas attention!!

We've come a long way from opening Aunt Sybil's perfume packets and lipstick samples for Christmas, y'all!  Hahaa!!  It's SO wonderful to all be together for the holidays!!

Merry Christmas from the Brinkers!!

We all started fake laughing to get a laughing picture and it quickly turned into being SO FUNNY that we couldn't stop!!  Hahaha, ahhh, love this so much!!
What a wonderful Christmas season!!  We celebrated all December long with lights, gifts, and cookies, ending each day with candles, hymns, and Scripture. Bundling up for cold walks, snuggling in front of the fire, and reading more Christmas books than my library bag could hold, this truly was a very merry Christmas, delightful and inspiring.  Thank You, Lord, for these wintry days that cause us to burrow in together, warming our hearts with laughter and lifting our spirits with joy. You are the best Gift of all!!

Merry Christmas, everyone!!

About Me

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From childhood friends to high school sweethearts, and now newlyweds and brand-new parents, Wade and I can only thank Jesus for His incredible blessings. Our three children are the ULTIMATE gifts from God and we pray that our lives glorify Him. He is our everything.