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No Excuse!

I am admitting that there is no excuse for my 6 month hiatus from blogging, but I am determined to get back in the habit, especially with baby Spivelet #3 on the way!  So here is just a VERY brief update in pictures of some of the highlights from our family life over the past 6 months:


One of the highlights of our summer was a terrific 2-week trip to Texas to visit family and friends! This was our reunion with some of our dearest friends from Dallas, the Higgins and Finley clan!

 


While we were in TX, we were blessed to discover that we were pregnant with Spivelet #3!! It was just too perfect to be there with the entire family to tell everyone the great news in person! We celebrated over a terrific dinner at our favorite Southlake restaurant, Brios!!

 

Back in California, we celebrated Uncle Derik’s birthday with a little surprise bash! That’s me holding our new little cousin on the Spivey side of the family, Trista! Tim’s sister, Tammy, is on the right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before we knew it, it was back to school time! Both of the girls were excited to head off to our awesome neighborhood school, Reidy Creek Elementary, for a new school year!

 

One of the most memorable events this Fall has been Tim getting to hike Mt. Whitney with a group of guys from church. It was an incredible and challenging experience, but I was so proud of my man for hiking to the summit!

 

This month, we got to celebrate Olivia’s 5th Birthday! I have to say that I can’t believe that my “baby” is already 5 years old! She is so full of personality and she is ready to “graduate” from being my baby to being a new big sister, the middle child, or as a good friend of ours likes to say, “The icing in the middle of the Oreo”!

 

Finally, Tim and I had the chance to escape for a beautiful 9 year anniversary getaway to Carmel-by-the-Sea, up on the Central Coast of California. It was beautiful and we had a great time together, just enjoying each other’s company and being kid-free (other than the one I’m carrying around!) for a few days!

This is us on our morning walk in Carmel.

 

So those are the highlights! Obviously, we’ve had lots of routine days in between, but life is good right now. I promise to post some pregnancy updates and pics soon, as well as other stuff on a more regular basis from here on out! I am currently 18 weeks along, and we find out in just 2 short weeks whether we’re having a boy or girl, so we’re really excited about that. I’m predicting another girl…Tim’s predicting a little boy…so we’ll see!

 

 

The Sycamore Series

Sycamore SeriesAs many of you know, I work with the Let’s Start Talking Ministry writing curriculum and training materials.  Well I wanted to let you all know about my latest project that I am really excited about. 

The Sycamore Series (Leafwood Publishers) is a new evangelistic series that will be released at the Pepperdine Bible Lectures  in May.   Building on our almost 30 years of experience sharing faith effectively on the global mission field, Sycamore is designed to equip everyday Christians to share thier faith with friends, family, and co-workers in a relational context that feels natural and nonconfrontational.   It not only helps Christians learn how to verbalize thier faith more effectively, but also provides a series of scripture-based workbooks as the structure for faith-sharing conversations.   Here is a little blurb from the DVD-based training:

Welcome to a whole new way of sharing your faith! The idea for The Sycamore Series  was born from a method that has been used effectively on the global mission field for almost thirty years.  Unlike all your preconceived ideas about what evangelism looks and feels like, The Sycamore Approach is one that will teach you not only how to share Jesus powerfully and effectively,but in a way that feels positive and natural in the context of authentic relationships.

 The Sycamore Series is a scripture-based curriculum that allows people to discover Jesus through the power of God’s Word, both written and alive in you.  The Sycamore Approach DVD and Video Guide will equip you to use this curriculum to facilitate faith-sharing conversations about Jesus with your friends, family, co-workers, or neighbors. No matter who you are, God can use you to share Jesus with the people in your life using The Sycamore Approach.

  

Over the years, I’ve talked with so many life-long Christians who have never really had a faith-sharing conversation with the people in their life.  It isn’t because they don’t want to; it is because they envision faith-sharing as something that is confrontational and uncomfortable, and they fear jeopardizing thier closest relationships.  My hope is that Sycamore will be a tool that many Christians can use to discover a new, more natural and fearless way of sharing Jesus with the people God has put in thier path. 

 

You can order the series through Leafwood Publishers or at www.SycamoreSeries.org after May 5th. 

Go Light Your World

This is a video that we took of the girls, singing at our Christmas Eve family talent show at Uncle Tim and Aunt Cindy’s house this year.  I was just organizing video clips on my computer tonight, ran across this one, and decided that it was worth sharing.  It’s a little long, a little over 3 minutes, but I couldn’t bear to edit out a single note:-)  It captures both of thier personalities pretty perfectly.  Enjoy!

The title is a phrase that I find myself saying often as the mother of daughters, ages four and six.  In a typically Mommy voice, I’ll say, “Olivia, use your words,” usually in response to some kind of emotional meltdown or an exceptionally whiny mood when communication seems to break down into whimpers, growls, or stuttering sobs. 

Teaching kids to use words and use them well has to be one of the most fun parts of parenting.  Granted, I’m a sort of English-nerd type, so many of you may think I’m totally nuts, but I think it is fascinating to notice how kids learn to communicate, and totally hilarious to witness some of the cute mistakes in usage that are so endearing.  Two of my favorite word-choices of late: 

Anna:  (While playing basketball in the backyard and watching her sister ride around on the scooter)  “Good job, Olivia!  You’re sooooooo professional!” 

Olivia: (Posing in front of her closet mirror, with matching heart-print dress, socks, bracelet, and sunglasses) “Mom, don’t you love how I am soooo stylish?” 

English-nerd Mommy thinks to herself, “Good vocab words, honey!” 

On the other hand, I have also arrived at that point in parenting where I find myself answering questions, mostly from Anna, about words that we are not supposed to say in our family.  Some I feel more strongly about (Oh my G__! and all curse words) than others (stupid, butt, hate, etc.), but we have lots of conversations these days about the words that we should and should not use in our family.  Interestingly, I really enjoy these little conversations, too. 

Yesterday in the car, Anna brought up the fact that there are lots of kids at school that say “Oh my G__!” and even though we’ve had the conversation many times over the past few months, we had it once again.  I explained that because we are Christians and believe that the God of the Bible is, in fact GOD – because we believe the name of God actually has power when invoked – that we don’t use his name carelessly.  We use it with honor, respect, and meaning. 

Now some of you reading this may think that I’m a bit stuffy when it comes to words, but the truth is, I believe that this is one of the most overlooked points of parenting in our culture today.  Are we thinking about the kinds of words we’re teaching our kids to use?   Not only ‘please’ and ‘thank-you,’ but “May I…?”  instead of “Give me…” and even “Forgive me..”  and other phrases that are so much more than just words; they are an expression of our identity as a Christian family. 

The truth is that the words we choose and use express a whole lot about who we are and what we value.  I also believe that the words we choose shape our character over time.  So today, choose to use your words well, and teach your children to do the same.  It will serve them well in the lifetime ahead of them.

City by the Bay

dsc010481Tim and I spent a few days last weekend in San Francisco for a little Valentine’s getaway.  It was truly memorable.   Not only do I love my husband deeply, but I enjoy him tremendously.   We have so much fun together!   I am not only married to the love of my life, but to my best friend.  We did all of the normal San Francisco touristy things, and we also just spent time sitting in Borders, reading and browsing the book shelves.  The highlight of the trip was walking across the Golden Gate Bridge together, coffee in hand!  It was just breathtaking. 

I would encourage you to read Tim’s post today on our trip.  Click here.  Regarding marriage and ministry, from a wife’s perspective, I believe what Tim wrote in his blog today is vital to long-term survival in ministry.  I have never seen ministry or the church as something that takes my husband away from me or our family.  Of course there have been seasons of late-night elders meetings and out-of-town speaking engagements, but Tim has always done a fantastic job of protecting the time and emotional space reserved for our family.  Because of this, I don’t feel threatened by ministry.  I don’t resent it.  In fact, I see it as something that enhances our family’s identity.  It is part of who we are as a family, not just my husband’s job.  We can be proud of him, support him, encourage him, and help him succeed in ministry because we feel confident that it doesn’t compete with his roles as husband and father.  

There are churches where ministers don’t have the freedom to sweep their wife away for a romantic weekend every now and then.  There are ministers who don’t give themselves permission to set ministry aside for a few days to focus on their wife.   I’m thankful that’s not the case for us, because I know, without a doubt, that our church and our ministry is better because of it.  North County Church has a minister with a strong marriage, who feels loved and supported by his wife, and who is a dedicated and loving father.  This is certainly one of the keys to living out a long-term life of ministry successfully.  

Thanks, Timmer.  I love you.

Weekend Update

Yes, it has been way too long since my last post.  January was an incredibly busy month, but wonderfully blessed, so here is a quick update on the recent happenings in the Spivey family over the last month or so.  I will be back to posting on a regular basis this week!

  • sleeping_trista-2Tim’s sister, Tammy, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Trista Nicole, on January 21st at 9:50pm – 7 lbs, 9 oz.  Tim was able to hang out at the hospital all day with the family, and hold his new baby niece the next morning.  Both mommy and baby are doing really well, and Anna and Olivia are absolutely thrilled to have a new baby cousin.  Olivia is eager to change her diapers and wipe away her spit-up when “Mommy squeezes her too hard” (ha!), and Anna wants to read books and sing lullabies.  Sweet.  
  • We were blessed to be able to attend the wedding of my sister-in-law’s sister (who is just family to us), Dee Dee Dover, up in Simi Valley a few weekends ago.  It was a great weekend for a number of reasons:  we enjoyed seeing my whole side of the family, we were thrilled for Dee Dee and her new hubby, Jonathan, and loved getting to be a part of a really special celebration, we got to hang out with Jeremy and Amber Johnson and celebrate their good news, and we loved spending the weekend in beautiful Simi Valley.

 

  • dsc01029After the wedding, Mom and Dad came back to Escondido with us to spend a few days visiting.  It was truly wonderful to have them here.  We took advantage of the beautiful weather and went to breakfast at a great little beach-side place in Del Mar, went to movies with the girls, and stayed up waaaay too late talking about church and life and friendship and theology – good stuff.  I have the best parents in the world – they are wise, fun, and faithful, and Tim and I love and admire them tremendously. 

 

  • As you know, I continue to work for the Let’s Start Talking Ministry, although I truly miss the camaraderie of being a part of the office staff there in TX.  In January, I was able to host one of our Intensive Training Weekends for our Pepperdine campus teams here at North County.   I got to spend the weekend doing one of the things I love most – preparing and inspiring university students to travel abroad and share their faith in Jesus.  As always, I was totally impressed with the maturity and deep spirituality of the Pepperdine students, and I ended the weekend without any voice, but a heart full of joy and gratitude to work for such an incredible ministry.   There are some exciting new developments in this ministry, that I’ll have to share in a different post sometime soon, but if you’re not familiar with the LST Ministry, you need to check out the link to our websites on my blogroll.   

So without mentioning all the day-in, day-out business of work and church and family, it has been a busy month, but one of great blessing.  Just fyi, if you are wondering why you didn’t get a Christmas card from us this year, it is because we didn’t send one!  With all the chaos of moving and staring a new ministry, etc., well- it just didn’t happen.  However, I hope to send out a Spring newsletter and family photo, because we absolutely plan to stay in touch!   Have a lovely Saturday and God bless!

Holiday Pics

Hi friends!  I hope your holiday was fun and blessed!  Here are some pictures capturing what we’ve been up to over the past few weeks.  We had a terrific Christmas season:  Christmas Eve and morning with the Spiveys in Long Beach, followed by a week-long family vacation with the Woodward side of the family up in Telluride, CO.   I can honestly say that Tim and I truly enjoy both sides of our family so much, and that is a blessing!  I’m also thrilled to say that I was able to go skiing on our trip, despite my infamous torn ACL, and enjoyed 2 great days on the slopes without any problem!  Woo-hoo!  I’ve also included a pic of the newest addition to our family – “Buddy” the cat – courtesy of Santa!  While I have NEVER been a “cat person”…well, when your kids ask Santa for something, what can you do???  I have to admit that Buddy is adorable and is quickly turning me into a kitty-lover:-)  Enjoy the slideshow!! 

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