Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Everyday is...

Take Your Dog To Work Day

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

If it weren't for Easter...

how would I live? How do you "press on" when you don't know where you are headed? I just don't see how people journey that way. Without Jesus. Without the pursuit of all He is. This hit me hard on Easter morning at church. Bethany ~my 9 year old daughter~ sang "Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone" with Tim and I during worship. I could barely keep from outward weeping. Then after she sang, I read scripture. This scripture found in the book of Luke:

The Resurrection

24 hBut on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, itaking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found jthe stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, ktwo lmen stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they weremfrightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, nwhile he was still in Galilee, 7 nthat the Son of Man omust be delivered into the hands of sinful men and pbe crucified and on qthe third day rise.” 8 And rthey remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they stold all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.10 Now it was tMary Magdalene and uJoanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and vthey did not believe them.12 But wPeter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw xthe linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

This would be the second time I have nearly "lost it" to the ugly cry at church. On a microphone. During the service. The first was when I read the Christmas story, back in 2007. I was pregnant with my first born son. You nearly needed to mop me off the floor.

Sometimes the weight of God's grace is nearly enough to take me out. It's as if I can feel the actual, physical weight bearing down on my shoulders. And then I recall that Jesus felt the actual, physical weight of the sins of the entire sum of men on His shoulders. Then I am ruined. It's too much. He is SO good. We have no words to measure His holiness. His grace. His love. His blood. And still He pursues us.

See what I mean?

This is a good place to be. Stuck in His grace. Bound by His mercy. Moving with His rhythm. Pursuing His thoughts, His mind, His heart. I am thankful and humbled that He even allows us that privilege. What a mighty God I serve.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Warrior's Weekend Muster 2011

The 2011 Warrior's Weekend Muster was held on April 1. This is an annual fundraiser that supports an amazing organization, Warrior's Weekend. WW began 5 years ago, intending to be an annual fishing trip for wounded soldiers (and their families) out of Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. It has become so much more than a once-a-year trip. My dad, Ron Kocian, is the President/Founder of Warriors Weekend and travels year round to different army posts, and different cities. He recruits soldiers to enjoy the fishing trip, as well as the donors to make it happen. I can't put into words what it has been like for me to watch my dad, step-mom Sherry, and now my brother Ron sacrifice so much to make sure these soldiers feel loved and appreciated.
On May 21, 2011, soldiers from all over the country, will travel to Port O'Connor, Texas, to enjoy a weekend of fishing. That makes it sound so simple. Too simple. They may catch that big redfish, but they gain love, appreciation, self confidence, and just knowing that the American public supports them. There is nothing like seeing these brave men and women -and their amazing families - finally feel truly, truly appreciated. The wars are long, and we are seeing less and less media addressing those that are risking their lives, and especially those that are giving all. Warrior's Weekend will not let these soldiers be forgotten.
The Muster is an event to raise money for the organization as a whole. Besides the fishing trip, WW donates to soldiers all year long. The Muster includes a raffle, auction, silent auction, and dinner. There are also sadly several "Gold Star" tables set for the families of soldiers lost. They are especially honored at the Muster. This was heart-wrenching. There are no words.
If you would like to get involved (it takes SO many volunteers and a lot of money), visit the Warrior's Weekend website for more information. I highly recommend traveling to Port O'Connor to show your support. It'll change your life!
There was a huge, beautiful flag outside the event~Sold out!
Me and my dad :)
I wish I had gotten a big family picture, next time I will!
This is my dad's oldest sister, Patsy. I love getting to see her-maybe especially because she looks SO much like my Grandma Kocian. I miss her so.
This is one of the little pups that went up for auction. Such a cutie! My cousin, Jessica Zak donates the puppies every year.
Remember this picture? This is the Kissing Sailor. This picture was taken in NYC on V-J day in 1945.
Here he is now!
I even got him to kiss my dad :)
(the teal shirt in the back is my brother, Ron)
Here is a view from the stage, where Matt and I got to help with the auction. This picture doesn't capture the size of the crowd. It was so great!
This is Col. Petrash in the red, who works with the Field of Honor. Hundreds of flags will fly in Victoria in honor of our soldiers. You can actually purchase flags in honor of your soldier(s) by clicking here.
In the deep front, wearing a WW white Heroes shirt is SSG Shilo Harris. My favorite part of the evening was hearing he and his wife tell their story. I think every American should hear it. He loves Warriors Weekend and believes in the WW mission.
This is another WW 2 vet that I had the chance to meet. The second I asked to hug him, he began to tell his story. Sometimes a soldier just needs to be heard. He told me that he flew one of the first airplanes into Victoria in 1947.
I love to see these older soldiers salute.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Avery's Kindergarten Orientation

Say it ain't so!!! I cannot believe that KISD wants to take my little Avery to school in the Fall. I mean, I can believe it because she is precious...but how is it time already?!? I put on my big girl britches, and was 10 minutes early to her orientation, but I didn't bring Avery with me. They told me that the kids were getting to go back to the classrooms, and I knew that I needed to run home and grab her. I'm SO glad I did.
I know her eyes are closed, but I needed to show you this picture so you will agree with me that she may be too little for school ;). Oh, and that she is wearing the zebra print flip flops that she got from the Welch family in the mail. Today. My child loves fashion coordination. Did you see her bday party outfit (esp the shoes, that were also from the Welch fam)?
Self - portrait
This is when they told the kids to walk over toward all the teachers and leave with them. Without mom. She looked back no less than 3 times. This is when I began to tear up. When we arrived at the school, Avery asked me if Mrs. Milliman would be her teacher. Mrs. Milliman is Bethany's current teacher, whom I adore. I so wish she would still be teaching one of mine next year. She is such a blessing!! I had just told Avery that she would not have Mrs. M, when she looks up and spots her. Mrs. M was there to help out in the classrooms. I was relieved!
When Avery went back with the kids, I had nearly lost it. Watching my little girl sloooooowly walking away, and knowing she was scared was nearly too much. Mrs. Milliman walked through that crowd and took Avery by the hand. Be still my heart. Did I mention how I love this teacher?!?
This pretty lady with my pretty lady is Mrs. Jenkins, who happens to have been my Elementary School librarian. I know. Great, right? It was at a different school, in the late eighties. Greatness!
This is our fearless, and sweet principal, Mrs. Fleming. Who also obviously has great fashion sense.

It was unexpectedly a special orientation. I am starting to believe that it was more important for me than for Avery. I feel like the Lord gently reminded me that time is fleeting, and my babies are growing. She said that they did school, except for recess...and with no homework. It is bittersweet to send your kids to school, but exciting to know that you are sending a blessing-one of your greatest blessings-into the world to be a light. I know this little, sweet and sassy lady is going to bless their socks off!

Bethany "Michael Bourn" Powell

We officially have a softball player in the house. Bethany is a Bearcat! I thought she would never stop passing a volleyball, but she wanted to try something new. I think that lately these are the times when I am most proud of her. She wanted to try something totally foreign to her, not knowing if she could catch or hit a ball. She runs into practices like she's known the team her whole life, and hustles the WHOLE time. (Even after a fall and a little blood on the knees) She is easily the youngest girl on the team. Right now, to me she is a coach's dream. She wants to learn and do her best--what more could you ask?
Saturday was her first practice with her team, and her first game. She stole lots of bases...so many that I called her Bethany Bourn (the past two years, Astro Michael Bourn has led the National League in stolen bases) all the way home :). She was up to bat twice and walked both times, the second time walking in the winning run. The bearcats are 1-0!

So hot after practice, but still smiling
YMCA team prayers
Getting a little advice from Dad (and Avery)
Ready to bat
This is where she informs us that she is a little afraid of the pitcher. I am guessing the pitcher was one of the older girls-most likely 12 years old.
Totally focused
This is where the coach is telling her that the pitcher is "throwing garbage". We have definitely moved into a more intense age...he doesn't really mix words with the girls.