Joy in the morning

*Holly here

We have just come through a difficult season.  We had hoped I would be expecting another baby, but our second try at IVF was unsuccessful and even though I knew that was possible, I was shocked, hurt and disappointed.  

Perfect timing – Chad planned a great vacation and I needed it so badly.  The first morning I took Birdie to the indoor pool to swim and as we visited with another family in the pool, I felt God gently showing me that none of us are free from pain or disappointment.  I remembered the part of Psalm 30:5 that Lynn, my sister, mentioned recently ( while talking me through a big cry / feel sorry for myself phone call)

“… weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5

We had such a great vacation.  ( by the way, he is a great planner of vacations – my idea of vacation planning is getting in the car and hoping we come across something great – not great). 

Our first stop was the St. Louis Zoo and it was free to get in.

Then we took her to The Magic House.  If you can get to the St. Louis area, you need to stop here!  

He rented a room at Big Cedar Lodge for a few nights and we drove down to the Branson area from St. Louis.  The beautiful landscapes and mountain views felt healing  and a reminder to my heart of God’s love and care.  Matt 6:28-30


The view from our room


Floating down the lazy river


I had to see this chapel on the property, when I saw it in the brochure.  We were walking through it and Chad said something like ” this looks like you designed it” – what a compliment!  I also took some pictures of it, after dinner our last night there.


It is vacation season and I hope you can have memory making experiences ( even if at home) like we did. 

Blessings to you,

Holly

Easter 

Can you even handle how cute they are? I can’t! 

Easter is coming and I’m trying to slow down enough to celebrate the most important time of the year. 

Have you seen this learning tool/game for children? I want to get one.


Here’s a Link to Amazon for Purchase : the Easter Story Egg 

Easter is coming!

Steph

* A big thank you to our friends at Twice The Focus Photography for this sweet photo with Fisher the Bunny.

I’ve got nothing

Tonight I’ve got nothing to complain about, nothing to wish away, and nothing to steal my peace.

Sure, there’s still lots to do and problems to solve but I’ve had a sweet talk with my love and prayer with God, and my heart is thankful.  All my hopes, to- dos and desires can wait till tomorrow. Thank you God for all you have done for me and my family.


May you be filled with thankfulness, Stephanie

What the Stewarts Know 

All the Stewarts in this house know a few things about this wife and Mama.

1. I love me some Daddy.

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2. I love the Doodlebugs

3. Anything Charlotte’s Web makes me smile. (Our oldest told me tonight that because of the rainy weather his class had to stay inside for recess. His Teacher put on the new Charlotte’s web movie, and he just had to tell her how much I loved the movie). Have you seen it, the new movie? Oh, the artwork is just beautiful; how the film images turn to watercolor is dreamy.



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4. I’m always going to pray “sweet sleep” over the Babes during bedtime prayers. Our second oldest usually giggles and prays in unison with me when he knows that part is coming up.

5. Clean sheets make my eyes roll back in my head. New sheet sleep is glorious.

6. They will be hearing this phrase, from me, the rest of their lives, “What if we just tore that wall out or added onto…”

And Finally:

7. I’m not perfect, and it seems they are ok with that fact.

Lately, I’m coming to see some things more clearly. I’m seeing practical ways to live with less striving in myself and more resting in God’s goodness and abundance.

Stephanie

W House Reno – updates, Lynn & Azarhia’s moving

We’ve been extremely busy with flag football, gymnastics and life, so I haven’t gotten around to all the unfinished projects still left to do on the house.  Another thing is, my older sister (Lynn) and her husband are moving…away.  I’ve been trying not to think about it because I don’t want to get upset and also, I know it’s the right thing.  It’s been so great having them close by for the last couple years, and seeing their business grow, and I know God has great things in store for them.

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Lynn is one of those women who, if she were a man would have been intimidating, but as a woman can be down right awe inspiring.  She’s fierce and funny and the most tender-hearted person I know.  I think the people that have come face to face with her fierceness would be surprised to know that she openly cries over children not having enough and would giveaway almost anything to meet a need. She’s helped me learn how to parent her mini-me (Rin) with gentleness, purpose and celebration of God’s creation.

So, I’m looking forward to visiting Lynn & Eric in their new “headquarters” and seeing all the people and resources that God brings their way.  If you are a fan of their company Azarhia, be on the lookout for great things.

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We love you Lynn and Eric.

Steph

Feeling like summers almost over

Do you ever get the feeling a season is about to end and you missed the essence of it.  The basic enjoyment of it. I was there last week, but not now. My husband took me out for a pre-football season dinner and we took the kids to the most southern summer festival – the Watermelon festival.                  It really helped that the choking heat died down and the weather has been pleasant for the last two days.  When the kids woke up from Sunday naps they flipped through my cookbooks and decided to have a party! Here’s the invitation.     We are making a McAllen worthy meal of carne guisada, cilantro rice and some type of juice.  Here’s the recipe    carne guisadahttp://www.food.com/recipe/rio-grande-valley-style-carne-guisada-80408 I hope it turns out to taste as good as the picture looks. Happy Summer Steph

Jammed Full Weeks

We’ve been real busy lately with school ending, baseball and life.

Our oldest graduated from Kindergarten. He played the Mule. He and I concocted his costume from gray flannel, a headband, wire hanger, yarn and lots of hot glue!

He delivered his lines masterfully with lots of heehaws!

We’ve been at the ballpark four nights a week ( unless it rains, which it’s been doing a lot of around here).  

There have been a lot of bloody noses, scraped elbows and band-aids. I think it’s required, when summer comes, to have a skinned knee.

Uncle Chad’s band had a water slide /obstacle Course fundraiser. The kids had a blast. You can really tell when a man thinks up the games, it’s just different ( a little more fun for boys).

I helped Azarhia with a Photoshoot at our local lake. I don’t want to have to say, ” smile and laugh like your having fun” for a while. 

And there was some yummy Pizza consumed at Lost Pizza Company.  Pizza makes me happy, along with Bill and the babies.

Steph

Brother & Sisters

We had a great couple days with my siblings.  I like who we are – these adults who care for each other.  We tell the truth to each other, but mostly we love.  I hope that our Dad would be proud of who we are (I know Mom is proud !)

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IMG_2229 We Freels kids are: carne guisada chefs, hair accessory producers, teeth fixers, home makers, teachers, detail makers, designers, hunters, mosaic designers, babymakers, seamstresses, givers and so much more!

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One of us is a incognito Catfish Wrangler!

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I liked being a Freels kid – but “Stewart” just sounds better with my first name!

Thankful

This morning I woke up thinking about my Dad and Grandaddy.  I think its the holidays that have me reflecting on the men in my life.  So, I’ll take this lead and share some thankfulness.

My Dad was one of those men who had a lot of friends. He taught me a lot about keeping up friendships – mostly because he kept up with friends and did what he called “shooting the bull.”  When Holly and I went off to college, we got added to the “shooting the bull” list.  It was kind of amazing.  He would just call and talk, usually telling us new jokes he learned, and asking if any boys had been interested in us.  We would also get these care packages with brownies and clippings from the magazine, The Western Horseman.  When he got sick, I think we were all in shock; and the day he died in September was the last time Holly and I were called “the babies.”  I miss you Dad.

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My Grandaddy loved us.  In his general nature and habits, he was almost opposite from my Dad.  My Grandaddy stuck to Blue in his fashion attire- one color would do.  My Dad liked all the colors of the rainbow.  Grandaddy liked bonds, where Dad liked the risky stock market.  There are many more opposites, but for all those differences, Grandaddy loved my Dad fiercely.  I learned to love past differences by seeing their relationship during my young life.  I think it broke my Grandaddy’s heart when my Dad died.  Grandaddy went on to be with Jesus last year.  I miss you, Grandaddy.

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So, as I reflect on the men in my life, the relationship I’m most thankful for is my husband. Last night, the kids were all tucked in bed and I was making dressing.  He walked up to me, put out his hands and asked for me join him in praying for our family. It was down right beautiful!  It was like settling in to the perfect embrace, planned just for you.  Our life has been difficult at times, but I’m most Thankful for him – Bill.

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Happy Thanksgiving.

Stephanie

Another Story

Somehow I started following this singer/songwriter Jillian_Edwards on instagram.  I don’t know her, but it’s fun to see her life pictures touring across america.  Her music is kind and folky; easy listening.  I didn’t really know anything about her, and I just recently realized that she is somehow connected to the band Colony House.

Revelation Time: (y’all may have all know this, but I didn’t)

She’s not just connected but, she’s married to the drummer.  His name is Will…Will Chapman…Steven Curtis Chapman’s Son.

This is the story that I recall about the Chapman son – Accident

I’ve prayed for him for years and not known his name.  Most times it’s when I’m backing out of a driveway.

The truth is, it takes courage to stand and live through tragedy.  However your tragedy arrives, be it an adolescent misstep, willful sin, or wrongs of  someone connected to you, going on to live a purposeful and transparent life takes courage.  It takes God.

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So, Jillian Edwards (Chapman) and Will Franklin have a courageous story.  Here is a video victory they have shared.

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Praise God, who heals broken hearts and never lets us go.

Stephanie