Sunday, July 29, 2007


I'm sure most of you don't know what those letters in the title mean, but to me and so many others, those letters mean Camp of the Hills. A little piece of heaven on earth nestled in the hills of Marble Falls, Texas whose soul purpose is to love on inner-city children and teach them about Christ. I LOVE Camp of the Hills - it feels like home to me and brings back a flood of some of the most wonderful memories in my life. To recap the story that most of you know....Jason and I started dating when we were co-counselors at COTH in the summer of 2000 and that is where, in April 2001 by the lake shore, Jason proposed to me. It holds a very special place in my heart and always will. It is amazing how some place that you only spent 12 weeks of your life can impact you so much.

I was blessed to spend this past Thursday and Friday there - me, Elijah, my mom, my niece Katherine and our friends from Fortress - Sheena and her daughter Jordan. Sheena was a camper there about 10 years ago and had been wanting to go back and see camp again as an adult because it meant so much to her as a child. We had a wonderful and relaxing time and were able to help the volunteer group cook meals in the kitchen while we were there. We also watched the crucifixion reenactment they have every Thursday night - Elijah asked A LOT of questions, wanted to "help Jesus" and wondered why they were hurting him - it proved a perfect opportunity to share with him the most beautiful love story in history and tell him how much Jesus loves him. Elijah had a great time and it was so special for me to see him having fun and enjoying the place where his Daddy and I fell in love.

Camp of the Hills is a place of refuge and the place on earth where I have seen God most clearly. Here are a few pictures....

Our group - Katherine, me & Elijah, Sheena, Jordan and my mom, Kathy

Elijah and I sitting on the steps of the dining hall. That porch alone holds a ton of wonderful memories!

Helping my mom make biscuits for breakfast in the kitchen. Can you tell he had fun with the flour? :-)

In the swimming hole and the beautiful view of camp from the back deck of the dining hall. The lake you can barely see off to the left of the picture.
My last thoughts of camp come from a friend and co-counselor in an email that he sent out just a few months ago:

"Look at the letters, COTH. Think about it for a moment... Four random letters of the alphabet that don’t even spell out a real word, but to us, it is a real word. To us, that word means something. There’s no other place in the world that can be called “camp.” If one of us talks about camp, then all the others know what is being talked about. We don’t have to say the full name of the camp, or talk about where the camp is. We all know what it is, and we all know where it is. To US, it’s just “camp.”

We all share a special bond together because we were a part of camp. To each of us, camp is such a special place. For most of us, camp is the place where we saw God bigger and more alive than ever before.
I thought of all the memories, the sweat, the prayers, the tears, the hugs, the joy, the comfort, the encouragement, and the love that we all shared at one time or another while at camp. I thought of kids. The KIDS. The countless numbers of kids that walked those grounds. I wondered where they are, what their lives have turned into, and do they ever think of camp.

As I sat there, I just thanked God for CAMP. For the memories, the hard times, the up times, the down times... For many of us, there were times when we felt like we were sweating blood trying to get a kid to open up to the love God wants to give them, and when we got to the point where we had nothing left, God took over and showed why he is GOD.

Thank you Lord for your love. Thank you Lord for friends. Thank you Lord for camp." Amen.

Sidenote: I finished the new Harry Potter book last night at around 2 am (pathetic, I know but it was completely addicting!). One word: FANTASTIC!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The book, The big 5-0, The Stephanie, The Tattoo & other random things

The book - the one I've been waiting for. Picked it up on Saturday and from the moment I started reading, I'm hooked. It's hard to put down and the only reason I didn't read all weekend was because we were very busy. I'm on chapter 6 - so far, so great! I think it will meet its very high expectations from so many.

My wonderful mother-in-law, Debbie, turned 50 on Saturday. My father-in-law, Gary, planned a great surprise party for her! I was so proud of him - he got the whole party together himself, the food, the friends, the family and she never had a clue! Lauren, Nova and I had to keep her occupied out shopping for a couple of hours while the guys got the party ready, but when we got back and she saw all the cars, she was in shock! It was a lot of fun and especially fun that the whole family was there, all 9 of us (yes, I'm including you Matt because I love ya!). Between the 9 of us, we had 4 guitar players and a drum, so we had a great time out on the back patio just singing and talking (picture below). I love my in-laws - some people have horrible in-laws but I am blessed with wonderful ones so I have no idea what that's like. They are just like family to me and we always have a lot of fun! Here are a few pictures:

Jason with his best buddies: Bill, brother Brad & Clabe

Also, my BFF from college, Stephanie came to stay with me on Thurs and Friday. We had a great time hanging out and talking, and I think Elijah likes Stephanie as well (if you can tell from the picture). On Friday, we met our friend Melissa, from A&M as well, at a park in Hurst to eat lunch and play. We had so much fun talking, watching Elijah play, getting sno-cones and "bird bowling" around the pond. Thanks for meeting us Melissa, we had a great time! Above, there they are eating their sno-cones. They were both impressed that when I asked Elijah what the Aggies say, he said "Gig 'em!". Whoop!

Other randoms from the weekend:

My sister's husband, Dale, took Elijah for a ride on their new 4-wheeler. He had a blast!

This is Elijah with his "cozy", as he calls it. He just got attached to this blanket this summer, and we're hoping it will be our redemption from the paci! :-) No luck with that yet. He asks me several times a day to "get cozy" and I wrap him up in his blanket and set him on the recliner. He gets a huge smile on his face!

This I just thought was a cute picture of Elijah with Lori's daughter, Annalee. Little do they know how cool it is for Lori and I to see our children together. We were 10 years old when we met - talk about coming full circle!

Lastly, The Tattoo. Yes, Jason Cox - my husband- got a tattoo on Friday. What is the world coming to when my husband gets a tattoo?!?! :-) I will post a picture of it later. Jason was a little worried to tell his parents about it, but it all went fine when he waited until they both had a glass of wine in their hands - Ha! :-) Elijah and I may be taking a short trip to Camp of the Hills this Thurs & Fri with my mom and a few others. I'm looking forward to showing Elijah where his daddy and I started dating - it is such a special place for Jason and I, and I'm sure I'll get lots of pictures.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Thank You God For Friends

Yesterday at lunch I was blessed to meet Mr. Ira Hays for the first time. His parents, Joe & Laura and their daughter Sophia, were ministers at Fortress about 4 or so years ago when Jason and I were there. Now they are church planters in Brooklyn, NY and are on their first road trip since Ira was born 2 years ago. We were so blessed that they fit their old Fortress crew in their busy schedule, and were so glad to get to see them again and the famous Ira! If you don't know the wonderful story of Ira, please check out Joe's blog, which is also on my sidebar. I'll also reference my friend Stacy's blog, because she is such a great writer and gives a beautiful story of meeting Ira yesterday. Stacy wasn't at Fortress when the Hays were there but has been following their blog since before Ira was born. It was a sweet, sweet meeting, and she has much better pictures than mine along with a good group picture of all of us at the bottom of her post. Thank you Joe & Laura for taking the time on your busy trip to eat lunch with us - it meant so much to all of us to see with our own eyes the miracle of God that is Ira!

From this past week: Elijah playing with his cousins, Kristopher and Jonathan - my sister's two youngest boys.

Today, Elijah had a great time playing with his good buddy, Ellie (and her baby brother, Deacon). Ellie is my sweet friend, Abbie's, daughter and her and Elijah have been buddies since they were tiny babies. Abbie only lives maybe a mile from our house so we are able to see them fairly regularly. They had a great time eating ice cream and playing in the sprinkler (Elijah in his undies - ha!). Such sweet friends and we are so thankful for them. Thank you God for friends - present, past and future. They make life so much sweeter!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Movie Buffs

Jason and I saw TWO movies on Saturday! I don't remember when that has ever happened before - two movies in one day. His parents took Elijah for the weekend, so we were all alone with a gift card to Cheesecake Factory and a movie theater gift card....can we say FREE day of fun by ourselves! The second movie we saw was Transformers (a great action thriller!) but the original movie that we had planned to go see a long time ago was the new Harry Potter! I was so excited about this one - I read the books and own every single movie so I had been counting down to this movie for a long time! It was really good and one of the better ones in my opinion - of course, they're never quite as good as the book and never have time to include every plot and detail, but overall - very good! Now I can't wait for the last book to come out this weekend - I pre-ordered it! :-) Have a great week and maybe I'll have something more exciting to write about soon.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Jason and I have been reading Romans the past few weeks. Each day we'll read a couple of chapters, then read the same chapters in a different Bible version the next day and a different version the next day until we've read those same chapters in 3-4 different versions...then we move on to a couple more chapters. It has really helped me to understand the Bible better this way and to learn new things that I didn't notice before. Elijah has noticed me doing this every morning, and so now he and I are reading his children's Bible together every day too. He is just like a sponge and soaks the word of God in! I am so thankful for his excitement in reading his Bible and praying with makes me smile! This morning Romans 11: 34-36 spoke to me:

"Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?
Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever! Amen."

We are absolutely nothing and God is everything! We cannot tell him what to do or offer Him counsel, as if we are smarter than Him! Everything we have is His, all of our wonderful blessings, and we have done nothing to deserve them. I have done nothing to deserve a wonderful husband, beautiful child, a nice warm house, a loving family, 2 cars that run, great Christian friends, food to eat everyday, and I could go on and on.....Praise God for His loving kindness and generosity towards us!

I'll leave you with a cute picture of Elijah in the bathtub today....

Friday, July 06, 2007

4th of July pictures & Fellowship

We had a great time at the Ranger's game on the 4th! Here are a few pictures. Thanks again Beck family for the free parking pass, free tickets in the suite and free food - we all had a great time, especially Elijah whose favorite part was of course the fireworks!

Last night we enjoyed some WONDERFUL fellowship with Robert & Jan Reagan, missionaries in Thailand. They are here for their annual trip to the USA to visit family in Fort Worth, and they fit us in their busy schedule! We enjoyed spending time with them while we were in Thailand and were thrilled to have them over to our home for dinner! There is nothing like a good meal and good fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ. We reminisced about our trip there in May, dreamed about the future in Thailand and caught up on what has happened there since we left. It brought back such wonderful memories & feelings about Thailand from our trip. We were enjoying our evening so much that we were all surprised to look up and it was already 10:30 pm! I am mad at myself for forgetting to take a picture, but maybe I will this weekend when we go to church with them.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Crazy week & some new portraits

We had an eventful week last week. I helped my mom with an estate sale all day Thursday, Friday and Saturday, which meant we spent most of the week getting last minute things ready for it. Elijah spent some time with my friend Abbie and her daughter Ellie, my niece Katherine and my sister Kristi and her son Jonathan while I was working. Thanks so much for the help guys! With all of the rain though (Crazy!!) I just let Elijah go outside and play in it one day. He had a blast and even rode his tricycle around in it as well. Here is a picture of him soaked outside!

Another fun thing we did last week was to ride the train to Daddy's work. Jason started doing this about a month ago to save on gas money, and it has really worked out well. He suggested I bring Elijah out on it sometime when he was leaving and he could ride back with us, so that's what we did last Tuesday. It was the cheapest form of entertainment - he LOVED it! He had never ridden on a real train before, just the small one near the zoo, so it was beyond thrilling for him. Here he is waving at one as it zooms by at the station by Daddy's work.

This past Saturday night, we took Elijah to see "Ratatouille" at the movies. This was the first movie we have taken him to in a long time - it was really cute but we discovered that he isn't quite old enough to sit still through a whole movie yet. :-) Then we drove on to Gainesville to spend the night with Jason's parents. We got up the next morning to go to church with Jason's sister, Lauren, at the church in Denison where she is doing an internship this summer. Here is Grangoat reading Elijah a story before bedtime.

Here is the funniest picture by far - Elijah slept on the floor in Lauren's old bedroom. When I went in to check on him before we went to bed, I found him asleep like this! I almost died laughing and called Jason's parents in to see him - those are Lauren's girlie boots on his feet! He is such a mess! :-) This isn't the only crazy thing he did this weekend. The whole weekend beginning with going to see the movie, then at church the next morning and on into the day on Sunday, he was WIRED! We all just kept saying, "I've never seen him like this!" over and over. He wasn't being bad, he was just very, very hyper and full of energy! At times, we just laughed watching him run around like a crazy man! Those of you that know Elijah know how calm he usually is, so this was quite a surprise for us - I hope this isn't a sign of what's to come! Ha! A few funny things he said this weekend: 1. While I was gone working at the estate sale, Jason gave him some animal crackers and Elijah told him, "Mama says if it's not a vegetable then it's a treat." I guess he is listening when I talk to him about healthy and not healthy foods! 2. This one wasn't funny at the time because he was being a mess, but when I asked him to pick something up off the floor, he looked at me and said "Not today mama" and walked off. 3. Last night when putting him to bed, we asked him what he did with Clare (this is his friend in Gainesville that he had been playing with earlier that evening). He said, "We went shopping." We asked him what he went shopping for and he said, "Mattress with Clare." Jason said, "You went mattress shopping with Clare?" and Elijah said, "Yes." We just about fell over laughing and called Clare's dad (Jason's good friend Bill) to tell him what our children had been up to that evening. Bill jokingly thinks that Elijah is after Clare, and he and Jason are always telling each other to keep their kid in line around the other, so this was a really funny story! He is such a funny little boy and is always making us laugh!

Also this week we got our professional pictures back that we had made right after Elijah's 3 year old birthday. My good friend, Neal, is just starting a photography business and offered to take our picture for free to get his business up and going. We only had to pay for the pictures themselves and I think they turned out great! Below are a few of my favorites.....

Have a great 4th of July! If it doesn't get rained out, we'll be going to the Ranger's game with Lori & Micah and sitting in a suite - woohoo! Never been in a suite before and it will be Elijah's first game since he was a baby. If anyone has some suggestions - the text and pictures always look one way when I type them and then different when posted on the blog so that's why they sometimes looks crazy and off on here, just FYI.