Birthday wishes for me and my boy

Today’s the birthday of  my favorite 7 yr old, Mr. Braylon Emmanuel Russ! After just returning from Oregon & lettin’ both sides of the fam dote on him w/2july 09 039 parties, we caved & let him have one here w/his 4 closest friends ~ Abigail Llanas (who lives behind/right of us), Andre’ (who lives 3 houses down & across Orgain St. from us), Chaney & Brady (who he met in Kinder. @ Nadine Johnson Elementary & never lost touch with). A strange bunch, but I love them all.

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This mornin’ I got lots of party goodies @ the Dollar Tree and then came home and baked a strawberry cake, frosted and decorated it. Cut some watermelon, put up streamers & a few helium balloons – let’s p-a-r-t-…why? because who said you can’t have three stinkin’ birthday parties in 8 days?! Right now, they’re at the theater watching “Aliens in the Attic” w/Ricky. After they come home, it’s pizza, cake, & presents – speaking of which, Bray is really into spy stuff this year – and tricking people (so a lil birdie told me Chaney got him some fake poop!) He also got an Mp3 player w/$ from Aunt Kim & Uncle Jeremy, and “Horton Hears a Who” from Papa Rick & Granny. There was more, but let’s keep this post simple, yeah?

Update: After gifts, there was one more thing ~ a little competition &  a lot of good, clean fun for just $1.89: the egg toss / egg launch (where we all threw eggs as high as we could throw eggs into the sky and still have them land in our yard). Too bad I was busy officiating & didn’t catch it on film. At bedtime, Ricky asked B. what his favorite part of the day was…and this was it. It doesn’t take much for a 7 yr old!

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(Above is the moment when Ricky presented our gift to him, an artist’s easel, to which he was exclaiming with full force, “YES!!!!”)

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(Princess Angel stuffing her pizza hole)

Even though we have to move out cause our home’s owner wants to sell this place vacant, we are only moving about a mile away (if that)! We just want Bray to feel secure and familiar with his surroundings…not to mention still close to those 4 crazy friends of his.  For 2nd grade, it looks like he may get to return to NJES where he spent Kinder.

God has given us wisdom, steady income, great health and a close-knit family, even the ability to fly to Oregon now & then. He has been so faithful.

I’m sure Bray could come up with a list of things he wishes for today, but as for me, I’m good. I’m trusting God to provide every lil need & not afraid to throw in some wants.  I hope & believe that my trust in him will stay strong when life throws us a curve…cause it will.  But until it does, I’m dancin’ in his unmerited favor…and I’m making the most of this time I get to spend with my babies. It’s been a long Saturday. I’m going to bed now.

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time in tyler texas at the caldwell zoo

we took the 4-5 hr. drive to spend the long weekend with my hub’s dad & step-mom! kind of a make-up celebration for bray’s 6th b-day & great chance to catch up on visiting, relaxing, & loving each other, face-to-face.

today we spent a few wonder-filled hours at the “caldwell zoo” ~ photos are on braylon.com ~ the wildlife was all so close. but strangely, our fave was feeding all the colorful birds on the wild bird walk. braylon’s fave was the white tigers. he saw so many animals he’d never seen or even heard of before.

angel’s eyes were bright and filled with curiosity. i think her favorite was the bird walk, too. she was quite content to be there and wasn’t frightened in the least when they all seemed to land on her at once. her beauty and ease made me think of her as a miniature version of “giselle” from the movie, “enchanted“.

tonight papa rick and granny took them to chuck-e-cheese’s…they said the pizza was entirely nasty and the place was crazy, but our lil ankle-biters tore it up, playing.

tomorrow we may hit the east texas state fair & take some shots of them on rides, & then have a long-awaited visit with great-grandma, deenie.

times are good in tyler.

photos to keep y’all updated

so head over to braylon.com for a bunchanew pix & an entirely new design ricky’s been workin’ on! he rocks. but, there are even more (below) that didn’t get included (from my camera)…enjoy!

austin’s park and pizza, yum-yum cake & gifts (like this spi-dog, spiderman tracing laptop & lilo & stitch 2!)

watermania at frank & sherry’s pool, with ‘gamma’ janis & ‘papa bob’

braylon’s birthday’s today!

i just had to get a shot of bray on his 6th birthday, today…8-08-’08 at 8:08am

lame that the alarm clock didn’t show the time cuz of the glare, but you’ll just have to take my word for it! maybe we’ll try again tonight. we be headed to his last t-ball game @ 8 in the mornin’ followed by shave-ice, & then for dinner, austin’s park & pizza with friends, family! later on, cake & presents ~ this’ll be fun.

meanwhile, today, we’re off to play in the creek!

compassion is…touching childrens’ lives from across the globe

i’m writing once a month about a fave & trusted organization (compassion international) to help spread the word, so that we can spread the hope.

the first time i heard about it was years ago from mac powell himself, lead singer of third day (who just landed a gig on ‘the tonight show with jay leno’, on july 29th! -mark your calendars!!). it happened to be about when i remember praying, ‘enlarge my territories!’ from the ‘prayer of jabez‘. well, we finally got to trusting God enough to supply us the funds to support this cause, & it turned out to be pretty darn easy. we don’t even miss the $32…in fact, God has been really rewarding our efforts to give, in ways we never thought he would! i’m not kiddin’. we’ve seen major increase. you test it out & see for yourself! here’s all we did:

i just sat at the computer w/braylon, & together we picked a child his exact age. i signed up (choosing auto-withdrawal). soon we got a welcome packet w/the basics, wrote our 1st letter including a picture of braylon & a picture he colored for his new friend, & ba-da-bing! a few weeks later, how special did my little boy feel when opening a great lil surprise in the mail – his first letter back (translated from spanish by a tutor) & a picture drawn by his sponsored kid/penpal! it’s been wonderful.

today we get to send him a birthday package (we were able to choose a boy whose 6th birthday is the same week as braylon’s!) ~ ‘jhonatan’ will be opening up a gift: spiderman stickers & a card game to go with bray’s hand-written birthday wishes & verse. i am so thankful for this new way to share w/my kiddo how compassion & perspective can change lives.