Saturday, November 22, 2014

Operation Christmas Child 2014

It's Operation Christmas Child time again!  We put together boxes last year and knew we needed to again; the generosity it provokes, the fun it is to put together, and ministry to a child is unmatachable in meaning!

We do this with my mom and she really takes the lead to put a lot of effort and heart into these boxes.  She grabs great sales, cute toys, and perfect gifts throughout the year as she finds them.  You can tell how much she wants to bless these kiddos with her enthusiasm and effort alone!

Five boxes are going out this year: four girls and one boy.  Ryan put the one and only boy box (not pictured in this post) together and did a GREAT job!

 

What went in the girl boxes (ages 5-8):
A blouse, socks, small purse, squishy toy, stuffed animal, note pad, sewing kit, crayons, chap stick, pencils, pencil sharpeners, nail polish, hair ties, headbands, toothbrush, toothpaste, body soap, nail polish, lip gloss, Christmas card with picture and probably even more that I'm forgetting!

 

What went in the boy box (ages 10-14):
A light jacket, Velcro mit catch toy, whoopie cushion, marbles, jacks, water bottle, pens, a notebook, wallet, head light with extra batteries, body soap, tooth brush, toothpaste, socks, and a Christmas card with picture

Our brother and sister in law, Tyler & Anna, are having their kids do it too and Rilyn calls it "buying for her friends" which I just cannot get over how cute that is.  What four year old willingly and enthusiastically buys gifts to give them away?! 

Our niece and nephews, that's who!

Poppy stalked helped me write the cards and looked very sweet the whole time so she needed a feature in this post too :)

 
Did you get a chance to a box (or a few!) together this year?  Let us know--we can always use inspiration for next year!
 
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'
 
Matthew 25:40
 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Littles Came To Visit

We had two of our favorite little people up this weekend!

We started the weekend out with lunch at Tyler and Anna's and then packed up their minivan and headed off!  First stop was the rec center to go down the big kid slide, get dizzy in the lazy river, and jump off the side of the pool! 


I have to say these two were very adventurous and climbed several flights of stairs to go down the big slide.  It goes SUPER fast (I don't even like it that much) and they rocked it!  Especially Ms. Rilyn who you could tell made a very brave decision to try something new and out of her comfort zone. Ryder just did it because we carried him to the top haha!

After that we went to the grocery store to get ice cream, went home had a healthy dinner and then watched Frozen over air popped popcorn and chocolate ice cream.  

Sunday we woke up and had uncle-nephew aunt-niece surprises.  Rilyn and I got matching red manicures while Ryan and Ryder tried to find a play place at McDonald's (NONE to be found-ugh!) so they got cinnamon rolls and dollar store treats instead.


   



Finally to finish our wonderful weekend we stopped at Krispy Kreme Donuts for sprinkle donuts and then happily dropped off two sugared-up, exhausted kiddos to their parents :)

We LOVE these kids and are so grateful for our quality time with them at such a fun age. They bless us with their sweet little hearts, curiosity, wonder, and hilarious thoughts.  Looking forward to more weekends with them as they grow!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fall Family Photos!

Right now our little Decker family consists of two humans and two doodles.  And we wanted to capture that and remember this wonderful season of life.
 
Our talented and Jesus-loving friends, Kaylee & Patrick, from Chasen Grace took family pictures for us a few weeks ago on the last nice fall day of the year.  The leaves were perfect, it was SO warm outside and our two naughty doodles were on their best behavior.
 
We HIGHLY recommend using Chasen Grace if you need any kind of photography.  Their creativity, eye, and patience was unending.  We could not have pictured more wonderful final photos even if we tried.
 
It was so much fun finding cute spots around Golden (our favorite town ever!) and getting to capture our lives at this stage.  We'll frame these pictures, give them away, and load our Christmas cards up with black goldendoodle love...but mostly be thankful for photography that can make a season stand still and we will be SO grateful for later!
 


 
I just actually placed a big Christmas card order over at Shutterfly and paid a ridiculously low price for all of them.  Also recommend that company for cards if you need them soon!
 
As for us, we are just plugging away at life these last few weeks.  I've been working with the kiddos over at Children's every week and still LOVING that gig.  Ryan was at a three day conference retreat last week and gained so much knowledge and information from speakers like the President of Compassion International and the CEO of Life Water.
 
We have still been loving no internet at our house.  We went on a late night snowy walk two nights ago, I beat my husband at Ticket To Ride last night, and tonight I bet we will watch an episode of Lost on DVD and build a big fire. 
 
Winter perfection.
 
FYI it has been less than 2 degrees the last day or so in Golden.  It HURTS to go outside-ha!  And it looks like another snow storm is moving in overhead this afternoon so I am headed home after this library trip to make vegetarian chili, sweet cornbread, healthy crustless pumpkin pie and cozy up our house for a night in.
 
We are also putting together our Operation Christmas Child boxes with my mom next week so ideas and photos to come soon on that.  Boxes are due Nov 17-24 so start up that if you are joining us this year in such a beautiful ministry
 
Happy beginning of the holiday joy, coziness, and excitement!
 
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus ever knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth...
 
Philippians 2:8-10
 
 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Unplugged

So this post (and the last) come to you from our local library. 
 
Why?
 
Because we cancelled internet at our house.
 
Ryan brought up the idea about 3 weeks ago...could we go a winter (or a lifetime?) without home internet?
 
And we wholeheartedly believe the answer to be yes!
 
It turns out that in each of our own processing, we were beginning to feel too plugged in and weighted by the intrusion of technology in our everyday lives.  To be honest, we aren't really even that "tech-y" of people but still, we felt the Lord tugging at our hearts and wanted to obey.
 
So Ryan proposed it and caught me TOTALLY by surprise because I had been thinking identically to him.  We felt real excitement to be on the same page about this and anticipation for why the Lord would be asking us to let go of this particular luxury.
 
Computer, and internet, Wi-Fi and impressive advancements aren't bad; we happen to utilize everything technological at both of our jobs!  But we felt this ongoing heart burden that our home should be a haven of rest and less busy with the hum of internet, TV, and other distractions.

(For the record, we DO still watch an episode of a TV series on DVD at night or have a movie night on the weekends.  Balance!)
 
What's funny is anytime we share this with people the reaction is somewhat...defensive.
 
We don't share in a "we-did-this-hopefully-you-do-to" way.  If asked what's new, this is what we share--it's new!  We are finding many people are very protective of their technological habits and to be honest, we don't really care what you do!
 
But we do care about what the Lord is leading us to do!  This is right for us right now.
 
Honestly, we have felt such relief, and sometimes inconvenience, at this new lifestyle choice.

But we added it up...

2 hours a day X 5 days a week X 52 weeks in a year is 520 hours.  That's more than 21 days per year in front of a computer screen!

Over an average, that could be 1,260 days  (3.5 years solid) in a lifetime if someone was a 60 year internet user. 

Phew!

The balance is that not all internet is bad.  The gospel is making it's way worldwide because of connections, political ideas are spread like wildfire, amazing causes are optimized and publicized. 

But for us, in this time, we are not home internet users.  We are choosing to connect with each other instead of technology once at home; start a legacy of less screens and more human interaction.  It is our hope that our kids would be SHOCKED to see us choose our phones or a computer over play time or heart sharing.  It's the cry of our heart right now to be present, and I believe we are making the best choice for us.

So the million dollar question we get: What do we do instead?

Read
Craft
Organize
Clean
Draw
Cook
Bake
Walk
Exercise
Rock climb
Talk
Board games
Build a fire
Have people over
Study
Nap
Bible Study
Bike
House projects
Pray
Host
Go to the library
Get outside
Play basketball
Garden
Yardwork
Re-decorate
Head to the rec center
Read a newspaper
Take a drive
Call someone

And the list goes on...

We are thrilled about cancelled internet.  I'm typing at lightning speed because my computer booking at the library is only 60 minutes long.  And you know what?  I'm glad this is the fastest paced thing I'll do all day. 

 I have a husband and a home, community and a neighborhood, friends and family, church and school, ministries and callings, two doodles and a million creative things to pursue.  And those are intentional pursuits I can't wait to look back on when I'm 80 and say, "Thank goodness I unplugged!"

 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Halloween Party Fun

Happy November!
 
I cannot get enough of this cool, crispy weather.  I've made banana pecan bread, crock pot chicken noodle soup (with home grown chicken-say whaaa??) and have been making cups of tea like it's my job. 
 
We hosted a Halloween/Matt's birthday party which was so much fun!  We had pumpkins, farmers, cats, a creepy red guy and more all show up.  A chili dog bar, games, and trick-or-treaters was on the night's agenda.  SO much fun!
 
 
Ryan wore a CREEPY red body suit that made me laugh, I was a cat and the Stewarts were a cutie pregnant pumpkin and farmer
 
Peyton was Harry Potter.  I DIED when we walked in the door!
 
Matt was a lumber jack, Katie was an amazing lion and the Frieds were cool pilot people!
 
We were so glad to have these friends over!  Four of my busiest weeks at school were over and we just needed to unwind with good community and a night of fun.
 
More updates to come!
 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Jack O Lanterns

Ryan didn't grow up celebrating Halloween.  He claims it's because his family didn't like to celebrate "the devil's birthday".  Haha!  His mom refutes that statement.

Either way, we love to laugh about it now and we live up Halloween because it is SUCH a fun holiday to live in community, have fun, and eat some yummy food.  

And carve pumpkins!!


On Saturday we had Hannah and Daniel over to carve up some home grown pumpkins, eat breakfast for dinner, and just hang out together!

Daniel didn't celebrate Halloween either growing up and this was his FIRST ever pumpkin carving experience.  He did an owl which was very skilled.  He did a great job,

You can't see in this picture but Hannah is preggo and due in January with their first baby and we are SOOOO pumped for them!!

A little blurry photo but there we are!

Husband carving up his pumpkin

Ryan's pumpkin: can you guess what it is?  A minion.  So cute right!!

My traditional jack o lantern--kept it simple this year!

Happy Halloween!  We will be eating loaded chili dogs and making caramel apples.  And hoping for a few trick-or-treaters too!

...who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Titus 2:14

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Lately

A little fall family picture

October has been full!  Here's what we've been up to lately:

-Ryan just went to a local Great Comebacks event for the new 2014 west region winner!  I was of course at home sick (see below) but he was reunited with his favorite person Rolf Benerischke and met the new winner, Perry.  They all went to dinner after the ceremony and it sounded like a very meaningful event.

-I (Carly) have been mega sick for about two weeks straight.  No, Anna Decker, I am NOT preggo :)  I had a cold for awhile, then got hit with the flu earlier this week which has really been terrible.  Something about clinicals with sick kids and working with sick kids means my immune system gets knocked out!! 

Graduation in 7 months.  Enough said.

-I am in week 4 of 11 in quarter 5 at school. We're studying pediatrics and OB (not a personal favorite of mine) and I'm filling my brain to the brim with new info.

-Matt and Katie had their last of three receptions in Colorado last weekend.  We have been so blessed to celebrate them all over the country and this time it was just a short 10 minute drive away!

Friday night we went to a KAUST reunion with six other couples.  They were all in town for the reception and it was a major blessing to see some faces we hadn't seen for about 4 years and relive KAUST memories!  We grilled out, caught up, and were in awe of where God has continued to move and work in all of our lives across the globe.

Matt & Katie vs. Ryan and Chris (Matt's brother) in some crazy lawn game

 Saturday for the actual reception the Bolts set up a Pinterest-worthy chili bar and served homemade apple cake and chocolate pie.  I love southern people!  Sunday we went with another couple from KAUST, Kyle and Bridgette plus some of Matt's family and went rock climbing that afternoon.  It was the most relaxing, filling weekend that was MUCH NEEDED!

This is Aiden, Matt's nephew who is a STUD of a rock climber.  He loved it.

-Last but not least here is Grumples in a bow tie.  Stud.

We had professional family photos done this morning in Golden.  It was perfect!  Lots of leaves, Clear Creek, and two doodles who were very well behaved and patient.

You are so handsome my little Grumps

So that's a little snapshot of our lives lately-some little details I want to reflect on later and not forget what made our weeks tick when I look back in the future.

This should be a glorious week as we celebrate my father-in-law's birthday, I have two days off from school, and we are hosting a Halloween/Birthday party at our house on Friday!!  Have a happy week :)

joyful heart is good medicine...

Proverbs 17:22

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