Foster Care · Gleanings · Jacey · Travel

2012: A Date, A Dozen, & A Dare…

20(in)11 Recap &  2012: A  DATE & A DARE

I blogged some plans for 2011 here.   God’s response to those plans was, “Not so much, baby girl!”  He, again, went above and beyond!

2011 was filled with the fun of Taco Tuesdays, roller skating, grad school, Cowboys games, romantic dates, an incredible BDayPalooza weekend, camps, zip lining, dolphin swimming, travel, concerts, and a few surprises along the way… as usual. 🙂

The first surprise of the year was wrapped in a little Twitter box… In January I met Mr. “So there’s this guy…”  he’s the one I wrote about here.

It cracks me up to read that now and think of all that has happened since.  From a few little Twitter DMs, to text messages, to an afternoon phonecall… God was at work.

Over the course of the last year, my beloved Chris swept me off my single high horse and ever so lovingly and patiently courted me into the fairy tale of my dreams…  a love story only God Himself could have written.

Someday I’ll have to tell that story… For now, suffice to say, he liked it…  So…

on Christmas Eve, as my boys were getting a beat down by those dreaded Eagles, and my mini-me was experiencing her very first Dallas Cowboys game…

“Listen to this song,” he said, as he held his phone up to my ear.

“I know the song, J where are you going?” My attention was divided between a margarita, a losing game, J standing up and turning around in circles like she had somewhere to be, and Chris playing music in my ear.

“We’re going to go stand over there,” J said in one ear as Chris is in my other ear, “Can you just listen for a minute?”

“Why are you going over there, and why are you taking Jacey?  Just sit down… and what with the song??”

I’m looking left to my girls, and right to Chris, certain everyone is losing their minds at this point, and confused as to why it must happen in the middle of this game.  But then the tune sinks in, and  I realize WHAT the song actually is…

Marry Me… by Train.

All of a sudden I notice Jacey is holding up a poster board that says, “Will you marry him?”

My initial irritation and confusion spirals into shock in about .2 seconds and then I realize…

He’s proposing.  To me. At a Cowboys game.

I absolutely melted.

Wait, did I mention at a Cowboys game??

And anyone that knows me at all knows there’s not a more perfect way for that to have happened.

And of course I said yes… because he is clearly the most amazing man on the planet. 🙂

And he shall be my husband, April 14th, 2012.

And that would have been enough to round out a fabulous year… but 2011 was way more than this girl could have ever imagined…

The year began in full throttle adventure mode and never stopped.  Right off the bat we took GMa sailing to check that off of her bucket list!  She LOVED it!  And so did The Littles! Gah I love that woman.  As soon as God gives me a house, I’m off to kidnap her.  I’ve given her fair warning!

We traveled and traveled and ohhhhhhhhhh did we TRAVEL!!

CHILDRESS – ahhhhh amazing trip!  I got to see so many old friends, including a surprise run in to Cara & Cynthia!  & Oh how I loved my time with everyone, especially Arica, Joshua, Nita, Sharah and her girls,  my kindred Britt and my mexi-sexi, Mely, and of course my precious Old Timer and Grandma!   OMG and I totally ate at Golden Dragon AND El Sombrero! mmmm Mmmmm MMMM!  Definitely need to make that an annual thing!

DREAM ROAD TRIP – TOTALLY HAPPENED.  I spent an amazing 10 days with the coolest girls on the planet laying on the beaches of Virginia, discovering the bliss of Philly, trekking through the History and monuments of D.C., and finally exploring all that is NEW (OMG) YORK.    If you’d like, you can read about that trip here.

NYX2 ~ Here’s a bonus God threw in last year – not only did I finally get to see New York for the first time ever, but I went yet again for a second round of The Big Apple in July when my Boo flew me there to visit while he was coaching baseball for the summer.  This was a short, but amazing, unforgettable weekend filled with several memories that I hold close in my heart.  We played in Times Square, saw an incredible broadway performance of Wicked, sat FRONT ROW at CHICAGO, walked right by Kareem Abdul Jabbar in Central Park, played on the Big Piano @ FAO Schwarz, stopped in for a glance or two at Tiffany’s, and even made time to check out the MET!  But my favorite memory of all was the very first night, kissing in the middle of Times Square in the pouring down rain…. I’ll never forget that moment!! Which just also happened to occur moments after I said those three little words to Chris for the very first time… many  more to come.  ❤

VEGAS – Well, My friend and I didn’t take this trip as I had originally planned in last year’s blog.  After much prayer, God provided the necessary road blocks to keep this from happening and I know it was for my own protection in every way.  As it turns out, it was best for us to part ways.  And by part… I do not mean stay friends or catch up from time to time.  I mean, excuse each other form our social network feeds, eliminate our daily im connection, and cut the cord as completely as possible.  I would just say as a woman, you really have to be careful about being “best friends” with an ex.  In my experience, that’s crap.  It doesn’t work.   Either you continue to run back into the comfort of the old or you block yourself from the new that God has in store, or worse… you do both.  Or, truth be told, you’re just waiting to get back together, with no promise of it happening, and subconsciously making decisions about your life AROUND the idea of you getting back together.  PATHETIC.  By refusing to release our grip on an ex, we trap ourselves and deceive ourselves into thinking that we’re “single, which is only partially true, and that this is harmless, which is the furthest thing from the truth.  The actual truth is, you are not strong because you can remain close friends with an ex… that takes zero strength and only nurtures weakness. Rather, you are strong when you can close that door, let go of the doorknob, and walk away in a new direction without turning back.

but… GUESS WHAT… GOD STILL GAVE ME VEGAS!  Absolutely, amazingly, incredibly and perfectly… just not how I planned.  Chris surprised me with a trip to Vegas over the Thanksgiving holiday and OH. MY. WORRRRRRRRRRRD.  It was a DREAM.  He wined me & dined me like I was Julia Roberts!  I didn’t quite shop like I was her, but I was definitely in HEAVEN!  We saw “O”, the Jabbawockeez, a hot burlesque show, went to the Ice bar, got my Hibachi & angelfish fix at Shibuya, met up with my friend Karen, danced the night away at Studio 54, rode in a limo to the most incredible dining experience of my life at Joël Robuchon’s, AND visited the Christian Louboutin store! I can barely breathe just reminiscing…. wow, a girl’s DREAM, all. of. it!!!

OH and that’s not all…

CREW CRUISE – So about October I realize I still have a week left of vacation to use up. HOW is that even possible?  I wanted to do something amazing for my girls, especially since we hadn’t take any tips together with J yet.   As I’m googling travel deals, I remember all of the e-mails and faxes I’ve gotten over the years with ridiculous deals on cruises in the winter.  After a little more hunting, I snagged a 5 day sea adventure for under $1500 and we were Cozumel-bound! We hopped aboard the Carnival ship for the first cruise of any of our lives, in absolute AWE.  Our schedule those 5 days: Sleep. Eat. Swim. Lay out. Eat. And repeat.   …Perfection.

Among the most incredible moments of the year… swimming with dolphins.  It was like a dream.

And seeing my little dolphin lover ride a dolphin across the ocean right in front of me… that moment… for this momma…

indescribable.

There’s been a running joke among our friends about how every time we return from a trip, my household multiplies…

In 2010, a week after taking Jacey to California, Miss J, my first foster daughter, moved in, followed by KT.

In 2011, on July 15th, just two weeks after we return from our Dream Road Trip, enter J.

And there went my heart.  Again.

You can read a little about how we went from four to five and about J, my 15 year old foster daughter here. She’s pretty precious.

Oh, and again — just a few weeks after we come home from our cruise, Chris proposes.  So, pretty soon, we’ll be 6, but then KT turns 21 so she’ll be moving on to bigger and better things, so keep her in your prayers – it’s not easy growing up, but she’s doing a fabulous job!   And Chris has two AMAZING kids that I absolutely adore – Callie & Skylar.  Although they’re grown, I am so excited welcome them to our crazy family. 🙂  And, I would love another foster daughter…  who knows what else is in store!   I’m totally down with the multiplying thing.  Life just keeps getting richer with each new person that God brings into my heart, and my home. 🙂

Another very special surprise came this year… God gave me back Camp Fusion.  Mmmm…mmmmm…MMMMM!!! What a blessing to this heart….

He answered my prayers for protecting His ministry through a season, and by His grace, in 2011, we finally had CAMP FUSION ORANGE. 🙂

Oh, and live shows… well..

Not a single one of the four concerts I picked happened…

Amos Lee cancelled, Taylor Swift was over $100 for nosebleeds even with a presale code,  Sarah & I still need to reunite in front of a stage, and P!nk was busy being a new mommy.

However, a ton of others made this a fabulous year for live shows, including

7/8 Nelly at Winstar

9/10   Li’l Wayne, Rick Ross, Lloyd, Keri Hilson, Far East Movement  on the lawn @ Gexa

9/22    Train, Maroon 5, Matt Nathanson @ Zoo Amp

9/27  Journey @ Zoo Amp – for KT’s bday since Amos Lee cxld

10/20   Colbie Caillat  @ HOB Dallas – Bdaypalooza

AND Chris got us tickets to Adele!!!!!!!!!! 🙂  And she cancelled.  😦  Twice. 😦 😦

2012 is already gearing up with great shows~

Mandy, KT, and I already saw Mat Kearney for the second time this past weekend.  Tickets are already burning a hole in my hand for Drake come February.  And in March, I will finally see John Mayer live! GIDDY!!!!!

Now if Mary J Blige could just get herself on a stage near me asap…

As far as our Annual P.I.M.P. camping trip… as  hard as we tried, we couldn’t carve out a full weekend for so it got swiped for a slumber party.  Which was SOOOO MUCH FUN!! And we are already on the ball making plans for our 2012 camping trip, this time with our boos. How FUN will that be!?!?? 🙂

One of the most AMAZING moments in 2011 was 9/25, a Sunday  morning when we were visiting Life church w/ the Parentals.   At the end of the service, the preacher gave his usual invitation, and to the right of me, just out of the corner of my eye, I saw two hands FLY straight up in the air…  and in the following moments Miss J gave her heart to the Lord. ❤

Wow, that rocks my heart every time I think about it…  and such a beautiful baptism…  The Crew surrounded her as we all together held her, smiled and watched her take that first step of obedience in her new journey with Christ.

Incredible.

Heartwrenching.

Amazing.

And I get to be her foster mom… I get to pray with her, lead her, see her big wide smile every day, and bear witness to this precious journey God has begun in her right before my eyes.

I can honestly say that my first full year + as a foster mom has wrecked me for good.

And just when I thought my year couldn’t have possibly been any better in my wildest dreams…

this crazy man who has no business coming after me with this roller coaster of a life and all these 82 kids, finished out the year by giving me one more very special surprise.

DALLAS MAVS vs OKC THUNDER.

Yesssssssssssir!  I cannot even describe what a mess I was at that game!! ALL the lovely ballin’ boys under one roof… representin’ both sides of my heart… Bucket. List. BLISS!!

I am blown away with all that God has done over here, and I’m sure He has a lot going on your way as well.  But if we’re not intentional about taking those first steps to open ourselves up, we could be stuck in this same place a year from now.  No thanks, not me.

At the end of 2012, I want to be healthier, possibly have another foster daughter and maybe a house, definitely be a better mom, student of God’s word, and prayer warrior…

but mostly…

MOSTLY I want to just spend as much time this next year nurturing a foundation for lifelong happiness with my future husband.

He is my mid-life miracle, God’s love for me with skin on, my best friend, my spiritual leader and, by God’s power and grace…

finally… my partner in ministry.  We have big dreams, big thoughts, and hearts overflowing for God’s people… this year is about the two of us becoming one with Christ.

Loving on my girls and Chris, learning, growing, gleaning, and sharing and discovering all that God has in store for us each new day will be a beautiful process and journey this year.  I have no doubt God has many outrageous and creative ways to use us, grow us, and reveal Himself and His unconditional love to us in this year… I look forward to all of His challenges, His miracles, surprises, and more of His sweet, sweet, Unconditional LOVE.

In my experience, we experience life and God more fully when we pursue Him.  But that’s not always as easy as it sounds.  It takes intentional effort, patience, hope, and relentless love…

reminds me of the way Chris pursued me.

That’s how I want to pursue Christ this year.

Fiercely, with wisdom, patience, and passion.

My prayer in this moment is that you may experience that same desire and intentionality in pursuing God and His unwrapped gifts that lie ahead for you.  I hope that you’ll seek Him out, leave no stone unturned, dig deep and learn to love Him fiercely with reckless abandon… and that as you step out in MORE FAITH to your Father, you will see dreams come true, imaginations become reality, and miracles unfold.

To get things rolling, I’m going to leave you with a dare…

I dare you to do the thing you fear the most.

Go.

Stay.

Stop.

Give.

Try.

Fight.

Let go…

Whatever God is giving you confirmation to do… if it’s only fear keeping you from it… mmm mmm MMMM, for shame…

You’re missing out sister.  (Or brother)

But chances are, as long as you sit stagnant (*que the song “stop & stare”), others are probably missing out, too.  Because only you can do what God has called you to do in the way He would do it through you…  Only you.  And only you will live your life through to it’s end… what will you settle for in this 1 shot life?

YOU HOLD THE POWER TO YOUR FUTURE BY YOUR ACTIONS TODAY.

So, maybe in 2012,  listen close, and you just may hear the Spirit of God whisper something like…

GO.  to the gym, to that other job, to the reunion, to Africa, to your kness, to bed earlier, to your family member to say what needs to be said, to that church or singles group… GO.

Or STAY.  in your marriage that you committed to , at your job, by her side, in the Word, on track, clean, positive, home, committed… STAY.

or GIVE.   your money, your time, your anger, your gossip, your bitterness, your resentment, your clothes, your food, your paycheck, your extra room for a child sitting in a shelter… GIVE.

FIGHT.  like crazy for your family, for more faith,  for your health, in prayer, for the hurting, against judgemental attitudes, against racism, for your quiet time dates with God, against human trafficking, for homeless children, for abused animals, against your selfish tendencies… FIGHT.

or Let go…

of…

well, you know.

I DARE YOU.

🙂

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8 thoughts on “2012: A Date, A Dozen, & A Dare…

  1. OMGoodness, OMGoodness, OMGoodness. You have fulfilled your 2011 to completeness and have touched so many along the way. Please, please know that the world is a better place with you in it and that you are the reason for so many other’s smiles. You are absolutely the greatest Mother, daughter, sister, friend, cheerleader (in all areas of others lives), prayer warrior, kindred and blood-bought daughter of God … and I am absolutely blessed beyond measure and beyond all that is describable to have you as my kindred and my friend. I love you and cannot wait to share pieces of your new season with you and to see what 2012 unfolds for you and your crew. ❤ ❤ ❤

    1. Girl what a whirlwind of a YEAR we’ve both had! Looking fwd to all that God has for us in 2012!! You are so good to me, I’m so grateful for your encouragement and generous love!! MWAH!!

  2. Dude. I’m excited for what this year is going to bring for you. I’m honored that I get to be a witness to it.

    Also, I’m taking your dare.You are inspiring.

    1. YESSS! Excited for you! You’re such a challenging, risk-taking, bold stepper! I love it 🙂 Let me know anytime how I can be praying for you!! Love you!

  3. Stacey – I absolutely adore you. You are everything amazing and inspiring to me. I know I have said it before, but I have to say it again..I LOVE your blogs..your advice…and your love for God.

    1. I LOVE YOU!!! Please, there’s no inspiration in me girl – God’s all that, I’m just a broken sinner with a lot of hard lessons learned. Thank you for the encouragement sweet friend!! ❤

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