Friday, November 18, 2011

A Thankful Heart...

Many of my friends are doing the 30 days of things they are thankful for. I thought about doing it but couldn't commit and knew odds were good that I would get behind and not feel good about not being thankful enough. So I thought a blog about things I've been thankful for this year would be more up my alley. A 1 time shot at rambling in the very early hrs., sitting beside a fire, with everyone in the house asleep - would work better for me. Also I sucked at birthday blogs this year so let's call this your birthday blogs kids, K?

I like to think that I'm a very thankful person. I figure I have a Savior, a family, a healthy family, a roof over my head & food in my kitchen - what on God's green earth do I have NOT to be thankful for?? I also like to brag on God and I know He likes to relive with me all the amazing things He's done over this last year. He tells us to remind Him... So, here's to bragging on the Father & finding the things that should overshadow the not so fun things.

This year has been wonderful & odd, all in the same minute. Ray has had a blessed year at work after a not so great couple years. He's still just amazing in EVERY way!! This time next year my guy will hit the big 5-0 and he'll be the cutest darn 50 year old to boot!! 3 mths after his b'day we will celebrate 30 YEARS so get ready for those 2 celebrations!! We together have done a lot of the big "P", parenting. He's the best partner in crime I could ever wish for!! The rock of our family who leads like a gentle giant. I love him & I could NEVER in a trillion-bazillion lifetimes express to the Lord how grateful I am for my precious husband!!
I don't like to talk about myself so I won't but I've been a Mother-in-love for a little over a year & I certainly LOVE that hat - you'd have to ask my new son what my grade is but I think I've passed with flying colors. Ray & I haven't hassled them too many times to be the 2 that have our 1st grandbaby... I've loved another year of being a wife, Mother, daughter...

Rachel is amazing as always! She has a job that she loves & we like to call her job...ministry, because she doesn't make a 10th of what she's worth. Rach has this extraordinary way about her - it's called selfless, unconditional, caring, kind, thoughtful, encouraging, LOVE, for every person that the Lord brings to her. This last year she is growing in ways, I swear took me till I was 45 (last year). THANKFUL for our eldest!! She is such a precious lady. She is waiting so patiently for her guy to find her & she is using her singleness for the Lord's glory!! Because Rach is so dang smart, she lives at home so she can travel the world! This Spring she took a trip to Israel for the 3rd time and late this Summer she took a trip to Ireland. She is already planning her adventures for next year to go visit her bestie Megan in Amman Jordan. She has missed her best friend since she moved this Summer but the Lord has been SOOO faithful to bring more covenant friends to her. I love the place she's in! I love more then anything to hear the wisdom that comes flowing out of her. She walks in so many gifts! She's a prayer warrior, discerning, she makes herself available to be a vessel for the Lord to speak through, she is SOOO wise beyond her years. Rach is undoubtedly the 1st born & I'm so very thankful that the Lord picked her to lead the troops!!

Ms. Sarah is an absolute delight!! She left us for 8 mths to live on her own with her bestie but she couldn't stay away for long -- no, she moved back home because she loves traveling & buying books & buying shoes & buying music equipment and MOST of all the girl LOVES to give her money away when the Lord leads her. She has travelled to NYC twice and Europe and many other states in the last year. She too is waiting for her prince but totally enjoying the wait. She serves at her church with her incredible gift of worship & oh how she makes her Momma and Daddy proud!!! Lots & lots & lots of changing in my little 5'4, tiny FIRECRACKER!! Her selfless love walk has been a miracle to watch this last year. I don't have a font big enough to show you how THANKFUL I am for the transformation that the Lord has walked her through!!! YIPPEE!! Man it's so hard not to brag but the girl is crazy awesome (she'll so hate I just said that, ha). I seriously don't know how I got the honor of being her Momma or Rachel's or ANY of them. OK. Anyway, this has been an incredible year of growth from the inside, OUT for my 2 eldest & I seriously can't be thankful enough to the Lord for all He's done in them both.
OK, moving on!!

I'll cover Austin & Hannah together since they're 1, right? Well, I just wrote their anniversary blog so you could go read that but of course I can think of lots more then what I wrote 2 wks ago. 1st of all they are THE MOST beautiful couple. Won't they make GORGEOUS babies?? --ssshh, I don't want to ever be the pushy Mom! Ummm, I love being around these 2. I love, love, love how they love each other. It's amazing to see your child love her husband the way you love your husband (mine). Those 2 are learning the art of marriage quite well. Austin has had a BIG change in his job - he is the worship leader at Life Church in Ft. Worth. He loves his job & we love to have him lead us in worship every weekend. He's an amazing worshipper & we are SOOOO thankful that the Lord picked our family to plop him in the middle of. He still likes hanging out with us so I think he's happy with his other family. It's amazing to me every single day that the Lord had him picked out to be in our family for his whole life. He's been a perfect 1st son-in-love!! Hannah is here at her old home a bunch!! Not because she can't transition out because she did that beautifully but she does some work for me & she likes to hang out here as much as she can...she also likes the food in our frig, the clothes in her little sisters closet & her Grandma. She comes in & it's like she never moved out and we LOVE it that way!! I love my Nan-tucket! Her job is also a mission field & she loves having babies to love on. I can hardly wait to see her be a Momma!! The talks we've had in these last 12 mths. have been talks I dreamed of having with my adult daughters when they were infants. I know I was quite ahead of myself but I did, sue me. She has been the perfect daughter to get married 1st because I think the next 1 will benefit from our "talks". Love her, thankful for her, she is pure joy to me!! Proud of our Benjamins and beyond thankful for them!!

Oh my little blonde beauty, Olivia! What can I say new about this lady? She's had lots & lots of God moments this last year. Lots of trusting the Lord & lots of growing up in the things of God -- and she has floored us beyond words!! She had her heart broke this year but came out on the other side with a precious new understanding of the grace & mercy of Jesus. I could go on & on about her maturity & her grace through her yucky times this year. That girl can trust God for her life/future like no other 19 year old I've ever known! She also had wonderful times this year and showed us all what we already knew, she rocked at being an incredible gf!! She is still our resident peacemaker, confidant, witty, happy-go-luck, selfless/servant!! Her sister Sarah wrote the most precious birthday blog (ck out Sarah's blog, she's an amazing writer, for her this past August and she put it perfectly, she said, -- She’s been a rock at different times for everyone in my family and she has this great ability to be exactly what you need when you need it. -- Just like the rest of them I am soooo thankful to be her Momma. I don't know what life would look like without her in it. She actually had many adventures this year. She too went to Ireland with her big sister & bonus brother Coty. She travelled to California w/ Hannah & then to Seattle to see her friend Casey. Lots of wonderful, wonderful memories that the Lord helped to heal over the not so good ones. She is getting ready to embark on a BIG year - starting hair school. I can't even imagine how great she's gonna be at that. People are so drawn to her so I know that the Lord will use her in a MIGHTY way at school & in her career. Tough year that she probably wouldn't want to ever repeat but SOOO much growth that ya can't learn in a book!!

My ace #1 son!! Mr. Grant! My baby who ain't such a baby no more. He's about 3 inches from being as tall as his sister Sarah! So super sad he's growing up so fast. He is crazily in his last year of elementary - my big 6th grader. Can it be that he's in the same grade that I was when I began my crush on Ray?? DO AS I SAY, not as I do... Well Grant has had a wonderful year. He's got a brother and that makes him quite happy. Grant loves, loves, loves Austin & after having a talk with him the other day he is even thinking about being super excited about the other 3 "sisters" having boyfriends & then husbands. Grant is beyond words, in love with every stinkin sport imaginable. If you know Austin you know he LOVES sports so I wonder why Grant is slightly/majorly obsessed? Yes, Austin is the reason! Grant has been learning balance with his love of everything sporty. I don't believe it's at all necessary for him to know soooo many stats, unless he can give me stats on things that REALLy matter. The whole raising a boy thing is still new to us but by cracky we will raise a MAN that puts the Lord 1st & his family next - the Rangers or the Cowboys or the Longhorns, don't get 1st or 2nd place (or 3rd). I know he's a young boy but habits start NOW and I can't wait till he's grown to teach him.
Grant is doing exceptionally well in 6 grade. Straight A's so far so I couldn't be happier. He is still the most lovable little boy. He is madly in love with his sisters & has grown out of the semi-annoying stage he went through. Thankfully it didn't last long! He hung the moon in their eyes so that makes me very happy. Grandma is still his buddy & he still spends a bunch of time in her room. I love having a son. He is funny & sweet & chatty & brilliant & kind & he's got amazing manners, he's sososo respectful and I get to be his Mom!! THANKFUL again!! How on earth do I deserve to be their Mom?? I'm seriously going to take God aside when I get to heaven & ask Him how did I get picked to have 5 incredible people to parent! And a husband that's amazing!! This lady is beyond THANKFUL!! The Lord gets ALL, every single solitary bit of credit for how amazing they all are. I am nothing without Him & I certainly can't do anything without Him. I'm humble that I get to walk through life with them.

Next time, since this got LONG (shocker) - I want to write about some of the other INCREDIBLE people that I'm soooo thankful for. I'll end this with some powerful words that are life & truth - Psalm 7:17 I will thank the Lord because he is just; I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High. There is no other way to be in life but THANKFUL!! Thanksgiving time makes us reflect on what we probably should have been thinking about daily through the year. There ain't time in this lifetime to be ungrateful or complain. His word says, Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18. FIND the good and be thankful. I'm telling you the more you SPEAK out your mouth the other, the more miserable you'll be. So go hug the 1's you love. Don't take 1 sec. with them fore granted!! Tell your loved 1's, I love you, every single day! A grateful heart is all a child of the most high, should have!! If you've lasted through this long novel, thank you. I pray it will spur something inside of you to go brag to God about ALL the blessings He's given you. Have a BLESSED Thanksgiving week & a wonderful holiday season! I love you all!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ray's last year in the 40's...

This is a blog that we all wrote 2 years ago (Grant wanted to revise his, ha). I couldn't say it any better and I thought it is worth reading and reposting. I'm so grateful to be celebrating another wonderful year with you!! I love you so much and 15 cheers for mid-life - I wouldn't want to go through it with anyone else but YOU!!!! RAH, RAH!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAY!!! This is a birthday gift to YOU!!! All of your kiddos and some other special people in your life wrote some birthday wishes, just for YOU!! So enjoy these thoughts and words, telling you how very special you are to each of us!!


~Happy Birthday Dad~

So Today is the day of your birth. The day that you came into this world, 47 years ago. Then 22 1/2 years after your birth you had your 1st and favorite daughter come into this world. I had the great privilege of making you a Daddy! Oh the Joy of being your 1st born and your favorite,

(the 1st will ALWAYS be a parents favorite).

That day on May 10th I was given a very special gift from the Lord, an Amazing Daddy like you. You thought you were getting a blessing but it was me that got blessed that day.

You truly are my Hero! You have taught me how to live my life as a servant and to try and be 100% selfless at all times. You are truly one of the most amazing examples of the Love of Yeshua. It just pours out of you, all the time. There is a huge long list of things I know how to do in life, just because of you. I’m so grateful to be able to call you Dad! I Pray and Dream that 1 day Yeshua would be able to give me a man to call my husband that will have character like you - who will be funny like you - who is extra good looking (like you) - who will be able to cook like you -who will love me like you love Mom - who will be an amazing Father to all my kids like you are to us - who will be able to provide for a family even if it take 3 jobs to do so - who will be able to share the kingdom of God and be a light to this world. I pray everyday that my husband will be like my amazing Father - he has BIG shoes to fill! I love you so very much Dad, you truly mean the world to me and I’m so grateful to be your 1stborn. I pray that this year will be everything that your heart desires.

Have a Happy 47th Birthday Daddy!! Rachel



I don’t even know where to begin, really… Today is a day that I feel very grateful, because I have a Dad. While there are plenty of people out there that desire to have a father and may never have had one - or the opportunity to have the influence that only a father can bring - today, i am grateful for you and your daily influence - and the impact you have on me and my life.

You’ve been such a great Shepherd and provider for our family. Always doing whatever it takes to make sure everyone was as happy as possible.

You are a man that I admire on both sides of the coin. You’re an amazing Dad that always made us feel beautiful, respected, covered, cherished, valuable and worthy of all of those things.

Then on the other side, you’re a great husband, friend, employee, and father. Most importantly you have and continue to make Jesus the center of everything our family stands for and desires.

I couldn’t have asked for someone that was more reputable, more experienced, or above all, more kind and loving… you’ve always surpassed it all.

I love you so much and I am so proud to be loved by you.

You truly are a kiss from God just for us!

Love you,



What an
amazing Daddy I have -- My Daddy, always the guy that would get the boogie man out of my room - not like normal Dads, but calling fire down from heaven. The kind of Dad that would sleep with me and Liv in the tiniest tent on our back patio (concrete) so that we wouldn't be scared, then get up and go to work. A Dad that would coach me in softball and encourage me to be the best shortstop ever. Those are only a few things that make you so wonderful. I don't feel deserving of a lot of the things you do for me. After a long day working you will still do whatever our family asks of you. Whether it's fixing the toilet, fixing our cars, taking us out on dates, making us dinner - even down to running to the store to get us tampons (ha, I know that will get ya). Your motto - whatever it takes. I will also always remember going to your side of the bed and whispering 1 word and you jumping to whatever I needed. I'm 18 and you will still stay up all through the night when I am sick. You are everything that the word Daddy means. You truly are the most amazing Daddy in the world.

I ALWAYS know that I have you praying for me and wanting the BEST for me. From my 1st memories as a young girl you began to build up in me a confidence of WHO I AM in Jesus. You have always told me beautiful and I'm so thankful for that because YOU are the reason us girls never needed to be affirmed by a guy - because we have an amazing Daddy who built us up. If it wasn't for you I would have tried to find and seek those things out in a guy. Now I have kept everything for my husband and a lot of that, I have you to thank. I KNOW what I deserve in a man because I have you as an example. You treat Mom like GOLD, you have shown us girls what real, Godly men are and I just want to Thank YOU for that. I could really go on and on about how amazing you are and how thankful I am for you. So I will just end with this - Thank you for being the most selfless man in the whole wide world. For always putting Jesus 1st and then our family. Thank you for loving my Momma. Thank you for never being to busy to be OUR Daddy.Thank you for making us feel like we were the most important people to you in this whole world. Thank You for being such a hard worker.

Remember this - I will always run out to give you a hug when I see that you have pulled up to the house. I know I don't say it often, and I know I am not at home as much as I was before being a grownup but I will always be your little girl - I willALWAYS remember who my 1st guy was. Happy Birthday Daddy, I love you more then the very last number, Nan



Today is your 47th birthday and you are basically an old man now. I hope and pray that this is one of the best years ever. I know that 1992 was a great year for you because your precious blonde haired 4th daughter came into this world. But I really sense and believe that the Lord has great things for you this year.

Here are 47 reasons why I think that.

1. You have a heart of gold.

2. I have never in my life been around someone more selfless then YOU.

3. You believe in me and in my destiny in Jesus.

4. You have always spoke life to us kids - always spoke blessings over us.

5. You are the cheesiest person I know and very witty with your jokes.

6. You are a man after God's own heart.

7. You are such a hard worker. You provide and make money for me to live in a nice house.

8. You are the most kind hearted of all. A reflection of the Father.

9. You want nothing more then me (our family) to be happy.

10. You were and are the best traveling buddy.

11. I have straight and white teeth because I look just like you.

12. You are a servant of all.

13. I am who I am today because of the example you are to me.

14. Nobody can make me cry like you can.

15. I’m proud to call you my Pops.

16. You are NEVER too busy for our family. You come whenever we need you.

17. I love that I can call you dude and bro.

18. You are the best at giving high fives.

19. You were and are the best coach.

20. I love your heart for people. People are drawn to your kind heart.

21. You are a perfect example of a gentlemen.

22. Every man should want to be just like you.

23. All my friends should be jealous at how cool MY dad is.

24. You always pray for us kids.

25. You always find something encouraging to say when I’m feeling blue.

26. You can make a song out of ANY word that comes out of your mouth.

27. You always show us our worth is in Jesus.

28. I love seeing your desire for your work place to be saved.

29. I love that I am your favorite blonde daughter.

30. You are silly and SO REAL.

31. I love your pursuit for the kingdom of God.

32. I love that you can’t spell.

33. I love that you could talk to the wall. But I love that you are such a good listener.

34. You always speak your mind with a gentle, soft word.

35. You are the biggest giver I know.

36. Even in rough times you find the good in what’s going on. "economy"

37. Your ability to make me smile, amazes me.

38. You always put our family first.

39. You are the best leader of our family. I am proud to follow you. You lead us by the great example that you are.

40. You are getting older… and wiser.

41. Along with being the MOST selfless man, you are SO HUMBLE.

42. You have great scruff.

43. Even when I am stupid, you still cheer me on. You always pick me up when I fall.

44. You have the most willing heart to serve God and our family.

45. You always have the right things to say. Thanks for hiding the word of God in your heart.

46. When that special guy finds me & if he is half as amazing as you, i'd consider myself a lucky lady. But I'm sure you'd never let me settle for anyone that was 1/2 anything.

47. You make me the luckiest girl in the world to have a Daddy like YOU!!! If you were anybody else's Daddy, I would be SO JEALOUS!

These are in no special order, but these are just a few reasons why you deserve to have an amazing year. I love you SO, SO, SO much and I’m so grateful that I get to be your daughter. Thank you for loving Jesus and being a near perfect reflection of Him for us to see. Thank you so much for always making me feel special,

I LOVE YOU THE MOST! Happy Birthday Dad! Liv





C-od blops





E-ven grandma loves you

S-orry for the crappy message





R....... and ummmm one to grow on

You're the best Dad ever, love you so much.

Happy Birthday


Happy Birthday!! I hope you have many, many more with each one being better than the one before! God bless you always with peace, joy, good health, prosperity and every other good thing He can think of! Googols of Love! XOXO Mom

FROM MEGAN -- (she is representing all your children that don't share your DNA but are your KIDS)

There are many things in life that I'm grateful for-my fam, being black, life, steak, get the drill. One of the many things I'm grateful for is having a man of God like you in my life. Obviously, I didn't have the chance to have much of a father figure (put your tiny hand in mine) growing up. The Lord knew just what I needed when he placed you in my life.
You're such an awesome dad and I hope that my babies will adore their dad as much as all your kids adore you. Thanks for taking in all of us orphan kids and making us feel like one of your own.
I hope that this is a great year full of the presence of the Lord in every area.
Have a super awesome birthday, Pops!
I love you!!! Megan


What can I say that I haven't said a million-trillion times?? Of course I can say it all over again and MORE. So, I will just follow my heart and write. I have such a thankful heart today. I woke up feeling such gratitude to the Lord for you. I love that our daughters can read my thoughts because someday, I pray they will have some of the same thoughts for their guy. I love that our son can read this because he will have Jesus and a living example in you - to strive to be like. In reading what our children wrote, they all said so much of the same thing. What a blessing you are to all of us.

I thank God for the man you are. I celebrate your life by telling you that you are such a precious gift to everyone that is in your life. I will try not to repeat things I have said before but I truly don't know what I did to receive such a precious gift. Your life that you have lived is such a testimony of God's faithfulness. He showers down love to you through His son Jesus and then through our children and myself. I love walking this journey out with you. You truly are my BFF. I thank you for your leadership in our family. I know it ain't easy but you do it with the confidence of 10,000. Thank you for loving me and reflecting Jesus in your eyes, hands & words. What a gentle man you are.

I think as we hit the years past 40 (not that we are old), we begin to think of what we are going to leave here on earth. Material things have never mattered much to us but ETERNAL things are what we have strived for, every day. Your selfless LOVE that only can come from the heart of GOD, your MANY prayers that have been prayed, your servants heart that lays down his life for me & our family, your unwavering love for the Lord that makes us all run this race with you, your wisdom that will be passed down for GENERATIONS to come in our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, & so on. Those are just a few of the things that these 47 years represent!! I thank God that you were born - I will spend eternity thanking Him for letting me spend my life with YOU!! Happy Birthday my Husband! I love you!!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

HAPPY 1st ANNIVERSARY, Austin and Hannah!!!

365 days ago was 1 of the biggest days that our family has experienced, so far!

The week leading up to this day 1 year ago was full of exciting moments. Our whole entire BIG family began the tasks of putting on a celebration for 1 of our own. If I've ever experienced selfless, it was this particular week. People taking off work, time away from their families - to make a couples dream-day, come true! It was Hannah's WEDDING week and ALL hands were in! We had jobs to complete and last special moments with Hannah as a Baker to be had. Everything got done to perfection and boy oh boy did we have those special moments. The wedding was the most magical day, it was truly perfect & beautiful in ever single way. The ceremony was full of Jesus, just like the bride & groom wanted. The celebration after was FUN and we all sent them off to begin their life!!

So today is the very 1st Wedding Anniversary for Austin and Hannah Benjamin. MY very most favorite couple in the whole entire world!! I seriously can't believe it's already been a complete year. It seems like yesterday that we were in the middle of that wedding week. All this week, everyone in our family has reminisced about what we were doing on that particular Tuesday, 1 year ago or on that Thursday... It was the most exciting time in our family that we all 7 got to experience together. We came together like a team that had a mission. We all had our own duties to complete and we all did them with the most love and care humanly possible. Ms. Hannah was in the middle of emotions that she couldn't control, some of the time. Leaving her family to begin her own little family was tough in some ways but as natural as breathing to this lil' lady that was called from the beginning of time to be Austin's helpmate!

1 thing Ms Hannah did since I could remember was pray for her husband. We didn't encourage our girls to daydream to often about that part of their future because it could bring on emotions that would get them stuck in that time and they'd forget that the season they were in, was important in it's own right. But Hannah was a little girl that we knew was destined to be a wife and Mother. Everything about her was nurturing, loving, selfless and maternal. Ray and I have always known that each of our girls would be incredible wives 1 day and Hannah was no exception. Now to see her be that incredible, wonderful little wife - brings so much joy to our hearts!!! I seriously could not be any prouder of her this last year. She transitioned into being even a better wife then I could have ever imagined. Ok, the cooking has room for improvement but other then that she has been a million times better of a wife then I could have ever even dreamed of being 29 years ago. Even though this year has had it's challenges, their love has grown them so closely knitted together! I've loved having a "married daughter!" She and I have had many talks this year and our relationship has taken on a new closeness that I knew would happen but it's even so much better then I could have imagined. I'm so super grateful to God that my kids feel comfortable to talk to us about pretty much anything and this year has brought so many AHHH moments for me. The leaning on the Lord that I've seen in both of them, the trust in the Lord for the smallest things, the growing together - has been even better then I could have EVER hoped for.

And the newest member of our family - my son that I didn't have to carry, labor or deliver (that's the best kind) - Austin! Ray and I couldn't be any more prouder of him if we tried. He has blown us away in ever way!! We could for sure be his biggest fans - behind his parents & his bride but we love how he loves HIS Hannah. He has LOVED and taken care of our girl and we couldn't ask for anything more. All of us loved him so much before they even married but our love for him has grown even stronger. Seeing this young man develop into the married man that he is now - has been nothing short of a miracle. He's a living testimony of the humility of Jesus and wanting so much to honor the Lord in his life, that he has set aside his own LIFE, for someone else.

I honor this precious couple today - on their VERY special 1st Wedding Anniversary!! We look forward to many, many, many years of sharing life with them!! SOOOO grateful to God for both of them!! They bless our family in so many ways and we can't wait to see what the future holds... Our prayer would be that they would continue every day to yield to the voice of the Lord, to become more and more selfless to each other, to see the good in each other and cover the other's flaws with love, that the Lord would be so evident in their lives that people would be drawn to Jesus. I thank God for their precious marriage and for the Benjamin family!!!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY and here's to another 50 years as Husband and Wife!!!

1 year ago...on that special night!!
And now...