Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Gilberts!

But let's be honest.  This picture does a much better job of capturing our reality . . . Ava being silly and Grayson focused on the task of "fighting bad guys."   This is our {joy-filled} life!

I need to ask you, my dear friends, to count this as my Christmas card {again} this year . . . and to not take us off your mailing list!  We just LOVE getting Christmas cards in the mail and seeing updated pictures of all our friends and family!  I've vowed that next year we will send out something that can actually go on your fridge {and we actually already made provision for it in our 2014 budget . . . I'm serious about making it happen!}.

2013 . . . what a roller coaster!  Major ups, major downs, and even the in between has been quite a ride.

Obviously Chad's mom's health has been the focus of much of this year.  It has been a heavy thing for our hearts to see her in so much pain, to walk through the fears of a transplant, to care for and encourage her in a much longer recovery than we ever expected, and to find ourselves back where we began, waiting for another transplant.

This year has also been the hardest on our family physically.  Chad had a long 6 weeks of recovery after the transplant and then has closed out the year with a case of shingles and the flu.  Bleh!  And in the middle of all that, I had the hardest first trimester I've experienced that included 8 weeks of all day nausea and exhaustion.  Whew!

But as I said, these hard times have also been intermingled with glorious moments and great joy . . .
  •  In August, Chad celebrated 5 years as pastor of Edgewater!  We can't even put into words what a blessing it is to be a part of this faith family, especially considering the grace and love that has been poured out to our family during such a hard year.
  • We began "For Better, For Worse, For the Gospel" as a monthly time to invest in newlywed couples and to consider together how the Gospel speaks to all aspects of our marriages.  We can only hope this time in the Word and in discussion has blessed the other couples as much as it has blessed us!  Our marriage has certainly been strengthened as we've talked through what we've learned through the years {mostly the hard way!}.
  • After a heart transformation in how we are walking in faith regarding our family, we found out in August that Baby #3 is on the way!  We are overjoyed and so grateful for the grace of this new little one in our lives.  {And we are excited to find out next week if Ava and Grayson will be getting the little brother they are both hoping for!}  Our hearts are still aching as we wait for Easton, but we are trusting in God's sovereignty and perfect timing for EACH child He chooses to bless us with!
  •  Ava started Kindergarten this year and is in. her. element.  She loves her school, her teacher, her friends and is learning so much!  We've loved seeing God open doors for new friendships as we seek to make disciples in the areas of life He has us in each day.  Mommy and Grayson have also enjoyed the one-on-one time that we've never had before . . . he's such a wild mix of adventurous boy and compassionate sweetheart!
  • Chad and I celebrated 10 years of marriage in July!  It sounds cliche, but we are more in love now than we could have ever thought possible on our wedding day.  The last 10 years have been quite an adventure of faith . . . but our story has been written by our God who knows how to lavish great gifts on His children.
  We are so blessed!

We are ending 2013 full of joy and with great hope.  

In the last month, I have experienced a revival of joy in my relationship with the kids that has breathed new life into my soul and changed our family.  I've also been learning about living a life of thanksgiving . . . a study that is sure to continue to transform my heart and family!

We are waiting for official word of Mrs. Tina's spot on the liver and kidney transplant list.  It is likely that another surgery could be very soon.  While this news is overwhelming, it is also full of HOPE.  We have great hope for these transplants to go well and for Mrs. Tina to recover and finally get to enjoy the quality of life she lost long ago.  Please continue to pray with us for her health, continued strong faith, and opportunities for proclamation of the Gospel that is sustaining her and our whole family!

We pray you have a worshipful Christmas as you are grace-struck by the Lord, King, and Savior who came as a little baby to save those who could never deserve His love!

 Just for fun . . . here are a few more of our family pics!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Happy Birthday Grayson!

My sweet Grayson is three years old today!

I am overflowing with gratitude as I thank the Father for giving us this precious boy.  Three years have flown by {although I won't lie . . . we've had some LONG days in there!} and I'm in awe of the little man he has become.

It seems like just yesterday I was snuggling him for the first time!

My boy was teeny tiny and so stinkin adorable!

Six month cuteness right there!

First Birthday

Second Birthday

Third Birthday

I don't have time to write about all the ways that Grayson brings such joy to our family.  Just take a look at that smile . . . how could we be anything but full of joy?! 

I'd like to think he is a mama's boy, but he's got this strong daddy connection too {which I love!}.  If you ask him whose boy he is, he'll quickly tell you he's mommy's AND daddy's boy!  And he better stay that way!

He is hilarious, especially now that he is talking more and his personality is being unleashed in full force!

But at the same time he is quick to show a heart of compassion and tenderness . . . even to his big sister!

This is one of my all time favorite pictures!  We are so blessed!

Another favorite!  Grayson has some great little buddies and has surprised me with how well he has done being a good friend.  So much so that when he looked over and saw Luke upset, he just followed suit . . . solidarity with his bros!

One of the best things this last year has been watching the BOY in him come out strong and with no coaxing needed!  

He's learning to fish with Papa T.  {I love this picture because I think he looks like a little Paw Paw just fishing away!}

He loves to get dirty!

He is fascinated with firemen and policemen, especially since we know real life ones!  And he's finally gotten some boy dress up stuff so he can look the part as he "fights the bad guys!"

Trucks, tractors, trains, and his new fire truck . . . entertainment for hours!

We've also delved into the world of superheroes . . . Spiderman and Batman are his favorites!  He's never seen the cartoons so he's had a hard time grasping what they actually do, but "protecting people and fighting bad guys" has given him enough of an idea to keep him entertained!

Like I said, we are just overwhelmed with God's grace for putting this little guy in our family.  He makes me laugh every day, still snuggles with me, gives the best hugs, and will play hard like wild little boys should!  He is learning so much, way beyond the numbers and ABCs {which let's face it . . . he's a second born so we're a little behind in this area!}, but about God and family and love and friends and serving and selflessness and giving thanks.  We consider it a privilege to be the ones to teach him!

Psalm 138 is my prayer for my sweet Grayson . . .

I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things 
your name and your word.

Happy Birthday Buddy!