Sunday, December 20, 2015

Our Baby Boy is Here!

The newest member of the Jackson family has arrived! William Roy Jackson V was born on Friday, December 4th. He's a little sweetheart, and we're all pretty crazy about him!

Having him enter our lives has been a completely different experience from Mariposa's birth and first few months. With her, labor was long and exhuasting, and it took me about three months to recover mentally. Labor with him was short and intense, and because of the amazing invention of the epidural, I had plenty of energy to bring him into the world and marvel at the miracle of life.

Because he waited until he was full term and strong to be born, he didn't have to get his heel stuck every three hours for a blood sugar test during our hospital stay. He started eating like a champ immediately, and at his two-week-old check up he was right on track with gaining weight. His bilirubin levels rose and fell just like they're supposed to, so we didn't have to put him through all of the blood tests his sister endured.

In short, we have a very average baby (although above-averagely cute, if you ask me)!

While I'm thanking God for the gift of our handsome son, and thanking Him for how smoothly everything has gone so far, it has also shown me just how faithful and gentle He was with us during those first few rough months with Mariposa.

The stress of having to resort to formula because my little girl was literally skin and bones after a month of working hard to nurse her, the darkness of post-partem depression (which I mislabled "understanding life better") and trial of faking joy to everyone because I believed I was fine, taking my brand new baby to the basement of the hospital on Thanksgiving Day to get her heel stuck for the fourth time that week to check her jaundice level, and the utter exhaustion brought on by going to every single Christmas celebration our familes had, all came together to make for a very bleak Winter last year. 
Yet through it all the Lord held on to me tightly. He gave Billy patience and gentleness with me, and a baby girl who was truly the sweetest little thing I could imagine. He used that Winter to teach me to lean on Him when leaning on Him meant directing my fall when I collapsed from exhaustion. And He gave me empathy for people who are going through trials that tear them apart, even though it's not nearly as bad as what other people endure.

And then, as soon as I recovered, He gave us William much faster than I expected!

It is such a comfort to know that my King is my Father and my Father is my King. Ultimate authority and deepest love make the safest refuge. There may be much harder trials ahead, or maybe our life will just be full of those normal little things like sleepless nights and two children crying at once. Either way, God is in control!

And He's given me the sweetest children He ever made!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mission trip with "To Be a Blessing" serving WEC in Pennsylvania

The Lord blessed me by allowing me to use some of my carpentry experience on a mission trip. I went with a ministry called To Be a Blessing (link), and we went to serve WEC (World-wide Evangelism for Christ) at their US headquarters in Pennsylvania. We drove all night and arrived safely Monday around noon. A tough drive but we made it alive! (We did pull over for a fifteen minute nap during the morning hours)

We began work that day as best we could, but I don't remember getting that much accomplished. Basically got ourselves set up and ready to go for the next day.

 We were working on a soffit project for a roof that had been extended on one of the Missionary Housing buildings. This building was called "The Hillside" and is used mainly for missionaries returning from the mission field abroad because of age. Kind of like a missionary retirement home except that because they are missionaries... well they don't seem tired yet. They are still seeking to serve through prayer and whatever way the Lord would use them.

 The community there at WEC is a very mission-minded community, meeting often for prayer for countries, missionaries, and peoples around the world. They meet every Monday morning and Friday morning to pray besides other scheduled times and it's not just a, quick cup of coffee prayer and go, that I was kind of expecting. These men and women spend time in prayer, in praise, and in specific prayer for the people and needs they are updated with.
I was there for part of their half day of prayer they have every month and it's not just like they sit there for half a day. They received reports and video from around the world and used these to direct their prayers and to direct their praise to the Lord.


Time to introduce the crew!
This is Nicolas, he was super valuable to me in showing me the ins and outs of the place. ...did I mention that we were staying in a castle? From the 1800s! Yep, quite the maze especially down in the basement (also known fondly as the "dungeon") where Nick showed me the Laundry room, the donated bike room, and the workout/gym room.

Besides all this Nicolas worked every day putting up soffit with me. Yep, you could say me and Nick were the core of the team (except for when anything required brains or experience, then Gary was the one getting it done)
Then there's Gary Northcutt. He actually is the real core of the team and the one making this trip and all "To Be a Blessing" trips possible. Gary has a real heart to serve missionaries with his construction skills so that they can serve as the missionaries God has called them to be. He has a desire for God to be glorified in all that he does and that when the world looks at him and what he does and how he serves it will know that our God is great.

So that was the traveling crew, Gary Northcutt, Nicholas Northcutt, and Billy Jackson. There were others that worked with us too, Ed the Sower (Servants on Wheels... I'll have to look them up. He was a big help and it was cool to hear about "Sowers"). Also The Hoods. They really helped us finish strong on the last day. We got to spend time with the Hoods playing and exploring the castle as well (and the pool in the evening times after work)

A family summer home built in the 1800s. Added onto and fixed up and now WEC USA headquarters

So yeah, did I mention we stayed in a castle? Yep, that castle! It was pretty awesome. Especially once I could find my way around a little bit. There were lots and lots of rooms and cool places... like the roof! Complete with turrets and really steep parts!

Mr Brian Hood informed us (after my inquiries into taking pictures of a sunrise) that there was a rood access from the attic!

So I got to take some sunrise pictures.
Unfortunately because of all the trees we couldn't see the actual sunrise but it was still fun and beautiful.
The building in this picture has been converted into the watertower. I climbed to the top but because the windows were very dirty I did not get any good pictures looking out.
I do have video proof that I did though. It was a crazy climb and a tight squeeze!

And we got to play ping pong in the castle ball room (now the dinning room) which I though was pretty cool especially with the super high ceiling.

Thank you all for your prayers during the trip! May the Lord be praised.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Very Special Announcement!

Mariposa is going to be a big sister!!! Yesterday evening we got our family together to tell them the baby's gender. We handed out unmarked cans of silly string, then had them line up by what they thought the baby would be. The boy line was the most popular: 9 vs. 4!
Mary sat in her little box in the middle, and we counted down!



     William Jackson V
Coming December, 2015!

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Lord is sweet in His providence

The Lord is sweet in His providence. We trust Him and seek to be faithful to Him.

Watch Him provide!

It is hard to understand exactly why we are not in Texas at The Rio Grande Bible Institute yet sometimes. But we trust the Lord and his purposes. We are His children and He is our Father.