Thursday, February 9, 2012

Good Reads

If you are like me and are always looking for a great book to read, boy, have I got some suggestions for you. I have read several really GREAT books lately so just had to share. They are each so, so good! I highly recommend them to everyone, young or old, single or married, with kids and without. They are encouraging, convicting, healing, insightful, hope-filled and make you want to draw closer to God and all that He has for you.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp- "A dare to live fully right where you are..." Soooo, good! I think I'm going to start reading it again even though I just finished it!

Twelve Clean Pages by Nika Maples
All I can say is WOW! You will have a hard time putting this one down. This is a memoir written by a friend of mine here in Fort Worth telling her story of suffering a paralyzing stroke at age 20 and how God has transformed and resurrected her life in the midst of trial. Unbelievable. You can get the book and learn more at or on her blog

One Million Arrows by Julie Ferwada-"Raising your children to change the World"
Looove this book! So encouraging and is a must read for everyone whether you have children or not. It gets to the heart of the mission which is our children's hearts and is a call to raise children with purpose and passion that will impact their communities and world for Christ. So, so, so good!

Without a Word by Jill Kelly
So good. A painful yet beautiful story and testimony of how only God's love can turn our grief into joy.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Catching up with the Carders...Again

Sooo, wow. October, November, December, January...I've got ALOT of catching up to do. Man, it has been fun, fast and crazy around here and lots of fun things have happened since my last post. I don't know why I can't get my act together and keep up because I really do want to. I'll add that to my goals for 2012-Be a better blogger!

Since I last posted obviously we've been through all the major holidays and that just overwhelms me to try and catch up with all of that so I'm not even going to try. So, I'm just going to do a cliff notes version of what's been going on with the Carders. You are welcome. :)

So, topic number 1) We moved into our October. Yes, it's February and I'm just now getting to this but oh well. We love our new/old house! We bought an older home and did some remodeling and we just absolutely love it! We are so thankful to be closer to work, church and family, it really has simplified our life in many ways. Here are some before and afters because you really have to see it to appreciate the difference. All I can say is get ready for LOTS of dark paneling!

Entry before

Entry after

dining/living before...don't you love the cut-out window? We thought about keeping it because it's like you have your very own drive-through window in your house. Eva and Ella thought it was super fun but our couch wouldn't fit in the living room so the drive-thru had to go. :)

dining/living after

kitchen, raise your hand if you love dark paneling. And is this not the most GINORMOUS overhead cabinet over the bar that you've ever seen?? I will answer for you and the answer is yes. Wowsers.

kitchen after...aaahhh, I feel like I can breathe. :)

There you have it. Come see us anytime!

2) Trip to Honduras

So, I feel really weird about showing before/after pictures of our house and then posting about this trip, just have to get that out there. I don't know what else to say besides I realize we are extremely blessed and because we are it is not for us to keep for ourselves but more for us to give to others. We are on a journey in this much like many of you and are praying for more trust in God to have open eyes and open palms to the world to be radically generous. We're working it out day by day and are learning everyday what it means to trust and say yes to God even when it's hard or doesn't make sense. Anyway, just had to acknowledge the wierdness and how convicting it is to post pictures of my house when just below are pictures of sweet ones that have nothing. I could go on and on but I'll leave it at that, I think you know what I'm saying. So, at the beginning of December Rick, Eva and I got to go to Honduras with an organization we love called Bread for a Hungry World. We spent a week there loving on the young and old, helping build houses and getting to see the amazing work that Bread for a Hungry World does day in and day out to help give those who have no voice a chance to speak, to give them dignity and show them they are important, loved and valued.

We were blessed beyond measure to see the lives that have been transformed and resurrected all because Jesus cares for the least of these and through Bread for a Hungry World people in Honduras are getting a chance to have a home, guaranteed food on their table, children given an education and their parents are given a dream come true by owning their own business through Bread's micro-lending program. Amazing, amazing, amazing I tell you! We cannot wait to go back to see and hug our sweet friends, young and old that we got to spend a week with.

We think of them and pray for them all the time and whether you agree with the benefit of short term missions or not, all I can say is that when I see and hear Eva, my five year old asking about the people who live in the trash and that she wants to save her money to buy pillows for the kids in Honduras who don't have them and now she has seen with her own eyes what it's like to not have a house or a bed and you take cold showers everyday if you even have a bathroom, I have to say it's worth it. I'm continuing to pray for Eva's compassion, heart and spirit and that this is just the beginning for her of a life lived for Jesus and one who will be obedient to serve those in her own city and in other countries.

3) The Reese's back from Thailand

Ann, Derran, Brynn, Meg and our newest nephew Dax came to visit from Thailand during December and January. We stepped off the plane from Honduras to meet this little guy who made it back from Thailand two days before us!

Dax was born in Phayao, Thailand so we could.not.wait to get our hands on him. It about put me over the edge not to be there for his birth so I was so, so, so excited to finally get to hold him and snuggle with him when they came to Texas. He is the most precious thing and we just had the best time. Ann and Derran left to go back to Thailand 2 days ago so we've been pretty sad around here this week but we cherish all the fun we had while they were here. We had lots of family and cousin time, trips, shopping, time with friends, lots of Taco Bueno and Sonic (of course)and Brynn, Meg, Eva and Ella loved every minute of their time together. They are all so different, funny and sweet and it is fun to watch their relationships not skip a beat even though they live thousands of miles apart.

Such sweet cousins!

Uncle Rick and handsome!

One of the many times we made cookies. I don't know if we ate more cookie dough or cookies. All I know is us Carders can do some damage on cookie dough, raw eggs do not scare us.

Crazy girls!
Needless to say, we had a wonderful time with the Reese's here and as usual it went by way too fast. I have way more pictures that I could post and somehow we did not get pictures of all of us adults but we had a fun time together too. :) We miss them so much already and can't wait until we can all be together again. You can keep up with them by going to my link to see and learn more about their lives in Thailand. More importantly I would just ask that you pray for them, their family and their work to build relationships and bring the love of Jesus to the people in Phayao, Thailand. They are doing an amazing work there and we're so proud of them and want to cover them in prayer by as many people as possible. We love you so much Ann, Derran, Brynn, Meg and Dax and are so, so proud of you and we miss you very much! Know that you are loved, loved, loved by us and so many here in the States!

4) More cousins and Family time
During the holidays we got to spend some good times with all of our cousins. On Rick's side of the family we got to see Caden, Emery and Adie. Eva and Ella ADORE these three and we are so thankful we got to spend some time together. They are so fun and Caden is about the funniest kid you've ever met! So sweet, polite and just flat out hilarious, the girls love their cousin Caden!

Caden and Emery

Eva and Emery...precious!

Oh my, these two are the cutest things! Ella and Adie are so funny together and Ella just adores cousin Adie! Just gonna go ahead and say that it was a crazy hair day for these two apparently. Love it!

All the cousins from my side of the family. So fun!

Here we all family with my parents, all of my sisters and brother and ALL of the kids minus Dax and Carisyn. Love this picture!

This is really more like it right? :)

We had a great time all getting together since it doesn't happen that often. So thankful for family and the blessing they are! Well, this post is probably long enough and I feel better about myself finally posting something. Gotta start somewhere right? More to come!