September Goals

It has been quiet some time since I wrote in my blog. A lot of life change has happened since April. I will try to simplify: we found out we were pregnant on the twins due date, also my momma’s birthday (April 24). We are expecting a sweet baby boy on December 26. We spent the majority of the summer house hunting, which is now on PAUSE. We have been dealing with a leak and renovations since May..and we are currently still waiting for our kitchen to be redone (waiting on the cabinets to be made). So hopefully by mid October all of that will be settled.

In the meantime, it’s a new month! I can’t believe its September. I already have the AC cranked down, my pumpkin candle burning 24/7 and I am making some homemade pumpkin cinnamon spice decaf latte’s..isn’t the fall just wonderful?

With a new month, comes new goals. I love setting goals because it helps keep me on track, keep me focused, and helps me from wasting lots of time. I have 4 areas of goals: personal/health, spiritual, family and business.

I have deemed September: Simplify September month. We have done a purge in our kitchen already today in preparation for the demolition to our upper cabinets. So, I thought I would continue that with our closet, Caleb’s closet and the bookshelf. I want to spend this month simplifying areas in our home. Nancy Ray has a lovely series on organization and I found her organization in home blog post very encouraging and also a kick in the pants to get our home better organized. (you can find that blog post here)

Personal:

  •  read the Advantage with the Nancy Ray Book Club
  • continue working out 4x weekly
  • continue eating healthy, whole foods
  • clean out closets, bookshelf, and organize home (make sure everything has a place)

Family:

  • have a family day with Bryan’s parents
  • send mom/dad anniversary card
  • send mandee birthday gift
  • play at park with Bryan and Caleb
  • go for 2 family walks in the evenings

Spiritual:

  • finish Luke & Psalms
  • memorize 4 “one another” verses (1 per week)
  • finalize planning on ED Leader Retreat
  • attend conference in OKC with Bryan

Business:

  • host facebook party with mom
  • share JP with someone daily
  • add 1 team member/2 customers
  • send customers care cards

April, it is not so nice to see you.

It seems like an eternity since I have last posted. Partly because life: it gets busy and Caleb keeps us super active and exhausted. And partly because I have been at a loss for words and haven’t known what to share lately. It’s April. April. I cannot believe it. We are one quarter down with 2016.

April. I have dreaded seeing this month for many months now because this is month when we should be welcoming our sweet precious twins Arden and Nasa into the world. But, we are not. And that is hard y’all. These last 6 months have been some of the hardest months I have ever lived. It is has been a refining time. A time of questioning, of doubt, of wondering “where are you God?” I never asked for this, to be in this club of women who lose their children. Yet, here we are.

And you know what I have learned? God is still good. He is still in control. And if anything this trial has brought me closer to him and allowed me to experience him in a more intimate way and has grown my faith more than ever. He has walked through this fire with me. He has calmed me and comforted me and encouraged me with his love. He has allowed us to love on others who have walked through this journey after us. And that has been so sweet to be able to say “hey, I know exactly what you are going through and how you feel, because I have been there.” And, He knows exactly how I feel because He lost his son once too. And man, that is comforting.

I know He has a plan, a good and perfect plan. And though I may not understand (he probably doesn’t want me to) I can trust him-the good shepherd. He is guiding and directing us with his tender love. And although on April 24 I will not be holding my precious little ones, someone greater and much more loving is holding them now. And they are in the perfect place with no pain and no suffering. And there is hope because God is LIFE. And in Him I have life and Arden and Nasa have life too.

 

To those who have walked this journey with us: Thank you. Thank you for the food, for the calls, for the emails, for the random drop-ins, for the words of encouragement, for the prayers. We could not have made it through without each of you. I ask that you continue to pray for us: for strength and comfort during these next several weeks as the heaviness of that day is quickly approaching. Pray for my heart that it would continue to trust in the plan the Lord has for us and that I would not make the desire to have more children an idol. Pray that I would continue to love Caleb well and be extremely grateful for the blessings God has given us and be thankful that I have had the privilege of suffering for Christ. To Him be the glory forever and ever.

February Roundup

How is it already March? My goodness, February was an extremely busy month for the Robert family. I feel like I blinked and here’s March.

I had Hope Mommies Retreat at the beginning of the month in Giddings, Texas. Then Bryan and I were both in at Mission of Hope, Haiti the 11-16, and Bryan had Key Men Invitational retreat when we returned, oh and my mom and sister came into town too. It was a whirlwind of a month, but such a sweet one as well. By far, my favorite month this year (wink wink). So much happened its hard to all compartmentalize everything, but I will try.

Hope Mommies Retreat

First: Hope Mommies Retreat 2016. What an incredible and refreshing time that was. I am still amazed when I think about it. The leadership loved on us moms so well, and honored our babes in such a sweet way. New friendships were formed and God showed up big, and he greatly encouraged my heart. The loss of Arden and Nasa has forever changed me. I am not the same woman I was before we lost them. Yet, in the midst of the pain and confusion, I know my God is at work. He is bigger than my fear, my questions, my doubt, my worry, my anger. He is faithful still, and his purpose will prevail. I can only see a slice of the pie (if even that) but he can see the whole entire pie. His view is better than me, so I can trust him because he is trustworthy. He has purposed this in my life, so I would get to know him in my suffering. He only needs me to let go of control. So, while I may not see the visible working of his hand in this current season, I know he is working. He is chiseling away, refining me, molding me into a rare jewel.

Haiti: Mission of Hope

We have officially been back from Haiti for 2 weeks now. And, man, my heart is still aching for that sweet country and longing to be sitting on the dirt ground, with a baby in my lap, just loving the people of Haiti. This trip was different than before for several reasons: 1) both of us are in a completely new season of life 2) we went down with a completely different group of people-families 3) we did different things than before. Yet, there were still so many familiar things: 1) the food we ate was still just as yummy as before, maybe even better 2) the people are still so kind, loving, and full of joy 3) the country hasn’t progressed much in the last 3 years 4) they are just as broken as I am. It was a rich 6 days away, and I just love what God is doing there! It’s incredible! While there are so many stories to share, I will share one of my favorites: it was on Friday afternoon, spending time visiting with Fransouia. She was this precious elderly woman, around the age of 60 (maybe) but her sickness and frailty made her look around 85. When we entered her home, made of straw, wood and sticks, she was laying on a bamboo mat. I thought to myself, how long has she been laying there? She had been sick for a while, and had no strength to stand up and move. She had no family and wasn’t even from the village of Bercy. She had no one to take care of her. Our team conversed with her for a bit and then we decided we would come back after lunch to bath her, wash her clothes, and give her something to eat. It was a beautiful afternoon spent being the hands and feet of Christ. The men washed her clothes, by hand-no washer and dryer, while the women gave her a sponge bath, put some fresh clothing on her, washed her dishes and fed her. I have never experienced anything like it before, to be able to love on someone who does not have the means to repay you. I will never forget that time.

We also were able to meet Ivenson, thank you Lord! it was by far my favorite part of the trip. I will never forget the moment I saw him. I ran to him, and gave him the biggest embrace. We only had about 20 or 30 minutes with him because the older kids at MOH School have chapel on Monday and they had already started once we arrived, so we had to wait until it was over. I was a little frustrated, to be honest, because I looked around and saw the other people meeting their sponsor kids who were younger. It didn’t seem fair…But, while our time with Ivenson wasn’t as long as I would have liked it to be, it was definitely sweet. We were able to learn where we lives and how many brothers and sisters he has. We learned what God is teaching him and how we can specifically be praying for him. It was just great to be talking face to face instead of through a letter.

I plan to do an extensive Haiti blog post, but right now I think this is all I can do. We are still processing through all the Lord did and showed us, and adjusting to American culture, which I must say has been a lot more difficult this time around. Please continue to pray for us as we wait expectantly on the Lord.

 

March Goals

Get up at 5:45 QT before Caleb gets up (during week)

Complete Proverbs 31 study

Memorize 2 verses

Complete whole 30

Find mentor (meet with 3x over next 3 months)

Exercise 4x week

Complete “Practice The Presence of God” for book club

2 dates with Bryan

Share testimony in Equipped Disciple 1

 

 

Friday Round-Up

Well, it’s finally FRIDAY!!! Caleb is off to his grandparents house, which leaves me at home, finishing my to-do list: reading, journaling, reviewing scripture, cleaning, meal-planning, grocery shopping, laundry, dishes, etc..the list seems endless. But Bryan will be home early today, which means some extended quality time! I am looking forward to that!

Last weekend was a wonderful weekend! Continue reading

God Gives Second Chances

y’all, can we just talk about how good GOD is? or how about how He wants good things for us? Well, if you haven’t experienced his goodness yet, our prayer is that you would come to know and experience it deeply, because it is undeniably incredible.

For those of you who may not know, Bryan and I met in Haiti in October of 2012 on a short term discipleship trip with our church, Watermark. That trip altered our life, not only is it where we met, but I believe the Lord began to instill in us a heart for missions and for the people of Haiti. We have been desperately trying to go back ever since. So, last summer Bryan and I began planning a trip back to Mission of Hope, Haiti with some Equipped Disciple leaders from our church. One of our prayers is that the 2:7 Series would make its way into the country and that it would radically transform the lives of the Haitian people as we have seen it done here time and time again.

haiti landscape Continue reading

FRIDAY

Well, the weekend is finally here. I always cherish Fridays. Caleb and I eat breakfast together. He usually eats oatmeal and bananas with his milk (which he has learned to sign “milk” and “please” and we are so proud of him!) while I drink a Juice Plus Complete smoothie. Then, we head to Park Cities YMCA. We have really loved PCY. While, I haven’t made too many friends there, they have amazing classes (shred, body pump, spin, piloxing, yoga to name a few) and the child care workers are INCREDIBLE and they adore Caleb. A few months back, I started taking Piloxing (they offer it on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays), and holy cow, this is by far one of the best workouts I have ever done. It’s high intensity the entire hour. The first time I took the class, I was dripping sweat within the first 10 minutes, and it didn’t stop after that. So ladies, if you need a good workout, try piloxing, I swear by it.

Anyway, after I have a good workout, we come home, and Caleb naps while I eat lunch and shower and clean up, and then his Gigi comes to get him. He has been staying with his GiGi and Poppy every Friday since he was about 3 or 4 months old. And how it blesses us so much, even more now that he isn’t breastfeed and I don’t have to pump.

I love Friday afternoons, because I have the whole house to myself: to be productive, or sit and rest, whatever I choose. I usually try to do both. I will usually either work on our newsletter, read a book, spend some time in prayer and reading God’s word, cleaning the house, laundry, and if I have time, I’ll watch a tv show or movie.

Bryan and I have chosen to use Friday nights and Date Night. I always get so giddy and have butterflies thinking about it. As a stay at home mom, it’s not often that I get to dress up and go out with my groom. So, I always love being able to do that on Friday nights. A new restaurant opened up down the street from us a couple months back, and being from Alabama, I have been dying to try it because I know it will remind me of home. So, I believe we are heading there tonight.  I really enjoy our date nights, a lot! No kiddo, uninterrupted time, just gazing into each other’s eyes and having deep conversation; it’s one of my very favorite things. And it wouldn’t be possible without Bryan’s incredible parents (THANK YOU!)

We have really been trying to live on a strict budget as of late, since we have Bryan’s banking school to pay for, and a new AC unit, and my car keeps going in and out of the shop; those can make date nights hard, but thankfully one of Bryan’s coworkers gifted him with a VISA gift card for Christmas, so we are using it tonight. (thank you Lord for your provision!).

Anyway, that is a little look into our Fridays. I am going to go read some in How To Win Friends And Influence People, the first book of The Nancy Ray Book Club of 2016. I’m only 70 pages in, but it is seriously the best book. It isn’t biblical, but it has a lot of biblical principles and I am learning so much. I hope y’all are enjoying this beautifully warm weather! Have a great weekend!

Happy New Year & Goals For 2016

Well folks, just like that its the 5th day of 2016. Christmas went by in the blink of an eye. We stayed in Dallas and spent time with Bryan’s family. It was a wonderful Christmas. Then, for New Years, we went camping with some of our close friends. It was FREEZING. I don’t believe we could have had enough clothes to keep us all warm. But we made the best of it, and still had a blast.

Now that the holidays are over and we are getting back into our normal routines, I have been thinking about my goals and about what this year will hold for me and for our family. I have always been one to make resolutions, but they always seemed petty, and they definitely weren’t SMART: eat healthier, work out more, be a better friend..but none of those resolutions could be measured.

The past 2 years Bryan and I have set SMART goals in the areas that matter most to us:

Spiritual

Physical/Health

Personal

Family

Work

These brainstorming sessions usually take a while, but it is sweet to see our hopes and dreams unfold into detailed goals for each of us each year. So, I thought I would share a few of mine with y’all. Mainly, for my own benefit.

But before I do that, I want to share my word for the year: PRESENT       I truly believe we can all be more PRESENT. In a world full of social media and chaos, things are always trying to grab our attention. This year I am making a constant effort to be more PRESENT in my relationships (be that Bryan, Caleb, family, or community) and my work. For me, it starts each morning by daily surrendering each day to the Lord and giving him my desires for the day and asking him to replace them with His, and help me to set down the device, the random thoughts, and turn off the tv and focus on those around me.

2016 GOALS:

Spiritual

  • completely read through Join the Journey 
  • read through the Bible (it’s not as daunting as it sounds, we’ve done it the past 2 years and it has enriched our spiritual lives so much)
  • memorize 2 verses each month
  • memorize Colossians 4 and sharpen Colossians 1-3
  • continue to lead and direct in each season of Equipped Disciple
  • complete 4 half days of prayer
  • visit Haiti again (February 11-16) and meet Ivenson

Physical/Health

  • take Piloxing 2x a week
  • take Yoga 1x a week
  • workout 4 days a week
  • continue to eat whole foods
  • year free of gluten and diary
  • continue to daily take Juice Plus
  • train for and climb 14er in July with Bryan

Personal

  • read 12 books (1 each month) I am following along with Nancy Ray’s book club
  • post in family blog 2x a month
  • take a photography class and purchase a nice camera
  • serve in Spring semester of Apples of Gold (our churches cooking class for young married women)
  • declutter/simplify/organize home
  • meal plan weekly
  • find mentor and meet monthly
  • send 1 encouraging snail mail weekly
  • attend Hope Mommies Retreat (February 5-7)

Family

  • date Bryan bi-weekly
  • write in Caleb’s journal monthly
  • plan for and take vacation with Bryan
  • visit family in Alabama (hopefully 2x)
  • send out Christmas cards
  • plan and throw a birthday party for Caleb’s 2nd birthday

Work

  • plan monthly for newsletter and have one day of cooking
  • attend Juice Plus Conference and Bootcamp
  • share JP with 4 people monthly (1 each week)

I have decided to break these down into monthly goals in hopes of actually achieving them.

My goals for January are:

  • take piloxing 8x
  • take yoga 4x
  • read How to Win Friends and Influence People
  • read Helping Without Hurting (training book for Haiti)
  • send out 3 Whole Bar Newsletters
  • mail 4 encouraging letters
  • memorize Romans 4:20-21 and Psalm 40:1
  • clean out master bedroom
  • visit Magnolia Market with friends

I hope this post encourages you if you already have goals or not. If you do not have goals, I hope this encourages you to create some. We only grow through adversity, and goals definitely bring adversity. I know there are a lot of goals on this list, but I am confident I can tackle them all, with the help from the Lord and those around me. So I hope y’all will help hold me accountable to these goals. So here’s to 2016 and goals!

 

 

An Open Letter to My Wife

Ashlee Caryn,                                                                                               12/23/2015

I was reading in Genesis 24 yesterday and the more I studied the life of Rebekah in that chapter the more I saw you. I was overwhelmed with thankfulness to God for you in my life. Here are five things about Rebekah in Genesis 24 that stuck out to me and reminded me of you:

  1. She cares for her home

Genesis 24:15 “Before he had finished speaking, Rebekah was coming out with a pitcher on her shoulder.”

She was out during the day grabbing water for her home. She was diligent in her role and made sure there was provision for her family.

You are an excellent wife and mother and your daily acts of service show how much you love and care for Caleb and I. You love us so well with the great sacrifice you make to be at home with him.

  1. She was ready to be a servant, to show kindness, and to be a source of blessing to others

Genesis 24:18-19 “She said, ‘Drink, sir!’ and quickly lowered the pitcher on her hand to give him a drink. When she was through quenching his thirst, she said, ‘I will draw for your camels, too, until they have enough.”

She “quickly” gave Abraham’s servant a drink and met his need. She continued to serve him and it doesn’t appear she gave a second thought. She blessed him with her time and gave what she could with what she had.

God continually shows me his kindness through you, and your servant heart is a blessing to all who know you. Whenever there is a need you are always so quick to act and not think twice (which challenges me!)

  1. She is hospitable and stewards her home/resources to minister to others

Genesis 24:25 “Then she added, ‘we have plenty of straw and fodder and space to spend the night.”

She had “plenty” of straw and fodder, meaning she had been a good steward to have extra. She stored up her resources to minister to whoever God would place in her path. She was ready and willing to give up “space” in her home for a night to meet the needs of her neighbor.

Your gift of hospitality has continually grown and I love your perspective of our home being a place of ministry. You continually look for ways to steward money, time and talents to be a blessing to others.

  1. Sensitive and submissive to God’s will

Genesis 24:58 “So they called Rebekah and asked her, ‘Are you willing to go with this man?’ Her answer was ‘I will go!’

She was so sensitive to God’s leading and direction that overnight she was off to marry Isaac. She didn’t fight or resist but went willingly.

I have watched you lay down your desires and plans for God’s plan willingly. From the birth of our son to the loss of our twins, you continue to look to God to direct you, submitting to His plan for your life, and it is beautiful.

  1. She gives careful thought to the future (prudent and wise)

Genesis 24:65 “and asked the servant, ‘Who is that man over there walking in the field to meet us?’ The servant replied, ‘That is my master.’ She therefore took her veil and covered herself.”

She took notice of what was coming, asked questions, and was ready. She want caught off guard but was prudent and prepared.

You continually look forward to the future and act in wisdom and prudence. You ask great questions and challenge me and my thinking. You dream big and set goals to shoot for the stars. Most importantly you daily devote yourself to the One who you are preparing to spend eternity with.

I am so proud of you and the wife and mother that God is molding you into. I cannot thank God enough for you in my life and pray that He would continue to make you fruitful and multiply you!

Love,

Bryan Matthew