Thanks for the thoughtful gift Aunt Jaryn!
My favorite sibling duo of all time
Then Ava sweet talked Dusty and Jaryn into some playground time, despite the cold wind.
Later that afternoon we dyed eggs.
Jaryn and Ava had similar pensive postures.
Ava showed off her egg-coloring skills for Nan, Josh's grandmother.
Remember last year's egg dying experience on the floor of our Castle? We are so thankful for the splendid space afforded us at Xanadu.
HLS worked on his egg at the counter so none of us roustabouts would bump his arm. Yes, seriously.
We had a special visitor in the backyard on Saturday night.
We decided this little rabbit was a scout for the Easter Bunny.
Easter Sunday marked the second-to-last Sunday School lesson to teach with Stacy. She and her hubby are moving to Turkey at the end of May, more on that later. I have taken a page out of Scarlet O'hara's book and decided to "think about that tomorra'."
(I'm also welcoming any ideas my sneaky blurkers may have about creating blemishes on her status as a traveler. Is there some way to plant faux Weapons of Mass Destruction on your friend so that are banned from leaving the country?)
We made colorful butterflies and talked about the new life Jesus gifted us on Easter.
Darlings, every one of them. Because the weather was cold and thunderstormy, we hunted eggs indoors.
The kiddos were SO patient and well-behaved as we waited for the eggs to be hidden next door.
Stacy talked to them about how we had to stay quiet in the baby room, and they were absolutely perfect.
Ready to go find eggs
Eggs were everywhere
Loading up her basket
At this point she started hunting eggs for the younger children. Many thanks to magical JJ for orchestrating this amazingly A-like Plan B!
A family shot
Dusty and our birthday girl
Turns out we're not the only reason for Jaryn and Dusty to visit Oklahoma. Thanks for spending the Easter/birthday weekend with us Drew.
Doesn't get much cuter than this
I really hoped to get a front porch shot but the sky was pouring rain.
No one else wanted to venture outside for pictures with me. An excuse to use a pink umbrella and be barefoot? I'm your girl.
While we finished up lunch preparations, Dusty helped Ava with her new Easter activity book.
Easter lunch fajitas, why not?
Everyone helped out in the kitchen to get lunch ready, and it was delicious.
After lunch we celebrated Jaryn's birthday (actually on Easter Sunday), and Mimi's birthday (coming on Wednesday) with cake and candles. Happy birthday ladies!
Do you remember this logo from Sesame Street? It preceded Kermit the Frog's news stories. Kind of random, I know, but it's where my brain went when I decided to do this little news update.
This is a picture of Our Wonderful Church (OWC), also known as North Haven Church. Because Rich and Stacy, current youth ministers at OWC, are moving to Turkey for three(ish) years, Josh and the rest of the youth committee have been searching high and low for someone to fill the position. You can only imagine our shock (read wave of nausea) when Brother Pastor (inside joke there) contacted Josh about taking the position for the summer. After much prayer, many questions, and some very convincing apple dumplings we have decided to take the youth ministry position. Since Josh is taking class and working a fancy externship this summer, I will be his trusty sidekick - I'm even taking the youth to camp. I have been surprised by my excitement about our decision. Only those of you who have known Josh and me for a while will understand how big a deal this news is, so let me explain a bit.
Our previous two church positions made waterboarding look like a warm and fuzzy bedtime routine. We were trampled upon, taken advantage of, lied about, spat upon, and hung out to dry for the whole world to see. My view of church and Christians was forever changed by our experiences working in churches. Their environments were so toxic that we both swore off vocational ministry forever, Josh took a quick route to graduate from seminary and headed to a place that would surely be more nurturing and positive - law school. We took a break from church for a long while, only attending First Mattress Church with Pastor Pillow (just for you Patrick B.). I honestly don't know that we would ever have gone back, were it not for our Little Bird. Ava James started waking up on Sunday mornings and saying, "Go church?" She was 18-months-old. She had no concept of days of the week or church. But for an entire month of Sundays our baby daughter's gentle prodding brought us to the realization that God was pulling us back to His people. We spent a few weeks visiting churches and finally landed at a tiny country church where our good friends were ministering. We began our gradual healing under the patient and competent guidance of the Millers. Soon Josh was accepted to OU Law and we moved to Norman.
The day Josh graduated from Truett Seminary we met Brother Pastor, his gorgeous Sparkly wife, and magical JJ. Brother Pastor was also graduating from Truett, receiving his Doctorate of Ministry. He just happened to be the pastor of a church in Norman. We started attending the church and fell 100% head-over-heels in love with its authentic congregation, theology, and heart for missions. Simply warming a chair at North Haven is impossible, no matter how terrified you are of church folk. Eventually we jumped in and have found the waters, indeed, to be just fine. We are loved. We are understood. We are valued. We are humbled to serve amongst the finest group of Christians ever.
So here we are, where we said we'd never be again. I am most excited that our careers in vocational ministry will not end on a sour note. We will be able to think about church work without shuddering and feeling bile bubble in the back of our throats. Please pray for us and the amazing youth we'll be working with this summer!
(I'd also like to take this opportunity to say that I will NEVER be a size 2, win the lottery, live in Prague, go to culinary school, be a D cup, own a pair of Jimmy Choos, be a cute preggo, or publish a novel...hear that universe? NEVER!)