Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas 2016 and a Family Update

Merry Christmas!  Thanks for stopping by. We hope you and your family are doing well and feel God's peace and joy this Christmas season.

What an eventful year this has been. Full of change, challenges, and blessings for our family.
First of all, just a quick update on all the kiddos...

 Julia is now in 7th grade at Providence Academy. She has moved to the "Upper Campus" and enjoys switching classes, taking some interesting electives, such as Creative Writing and Drama, and has joined the Pom team this year. She loves getting to cheer for the Junior High basketball games with her friends and the social outlet that it brings.

Alyson is in 4th grade. Some of her favorite hobbies are drawing in her sketch pad (she has quite the imagination!), playing the piano, and spending time with our family kitty. She was excited to be in the school Musical Theater Christmas program, "Back to the Manger" as one of the 1950's girls in a poodle skirt. The main character, "Jackson", a bit of a rebellious kid, travels in a time machine to past decades and goes all the way back to when Jesus was born in a manger. His heart was then changed as he realized what Christmas is all about. Truly a powerful message!

Josiah, now in 2nd grade, loves any chance he can get to throw, kick, hit, or shoot a ball.. He has a bit of a competitive streak and much energy and determination for the game!  This is his first season to play basketball with some second grade friends. It is fun to watch these little guys learn the game and become aggressive on the quart.

Elijah started Kindergarten this year.. Yes, the BABY!  He is learning how to read, write, and add numbers. He enjoys sports as well, but especially building and creating new inventions and contraptions here at home. He loves being outside digging in the dirt and hunting for deer, too.  He is pretty much fearless.. Once in awhile we will still say, "Where's Elijah??", just to find him halfway down our long driveway, heading to go check on Uncle Chad hunting in the woods. He keeps us on our  toes!

As I said earlier, our family has been through a lot of change over the past year.  Last fall, the Lord put on our hearts a calling for a future ministry (you can read my previous post for more of those details). Just a brief background.. Over the last few years, Brandon and I had developed a passion for the women's and men's ministries at our church and enjoyed getting to be a part of planning/coordinating retreats. It was then that the Lord placed in us a dream to one day open up our own retreat place.. A place where groups could come to "get away" and reconnect with the Lord.  So the calling came about when we stumbled upon some property not too far from home. There were three barn-style rock buildings on acres of rolling hills and wooded land. The buildings seemed perfect for lodging and even had a large, open space for the conference room where groups could gather.  The dream we had just a few years before resurfaced and pulled at our hearts.  We took that tough step of faith, trusting God had a greater purpose for us, and put our home on the market.  It sold this past May and the Lord continued to open each door as He prepared the way (Amber, our wonderful sister and realtor, can share with you some of the amazing stories of how God worked throughout the process!). As hard as it was to leave and give up our home place we loved, we knew we had to move forward in obedience with the shield of faith.

We are now here at the property where God gave us the vision a year ago.   For now we are living in one of the buildings until time to build a more permanent home when the Lord gives us direction to begin the ministry. Ever since we moved here at the beginning of June, we have had all kinds of projects and work that needed to be done.  We are so thankful for our loving family for all the help with the seemingly unending projects!  It has been a slow but sure process and it's good to finally be settled in.

With the promise God gave us from the very beginning, He also gave us the name of our new home place/future retreat...

Grace Haven Ranch.

None of us deserve anything we have been given, but by His grace and the blood Jesus shed on the cross, we have been saved through faith and freed from the sin debt that must be paid.

We want this to be a safe place.. A haven.. A place of rest.  A place where people can truly feel the Lord's presence and hear His voice. 

And the rolling pastures will one day (Lord willing) have sheep, so ranch seemed fitting.

We humbly share our story with you as we also ask for your prayers. The enemy sure loves to get in the middle of a good thing and see what all he can do to stop God's plans from coming to fruition. Your prayers are much appreciated as we continue to seek wisdom and direction for the years ahead. We want to do this parenting thing well and not miss any opportunity with our children, too.  It is a busy season of life with activities and school, so waiting a few years to begin may be ideal.

Thank you to all who have shown us your support and prayed for us over this past year. Prayer is powerful and God can do big things when we humble ourselves before Him, praying in faith, and believing that "He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us."

We love all of you and pray you will be blessed as the new year rolls around!

Merry Christmas!
The Campbells

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Entering a New Chapter

Dear Friends and Family,

I think it is finally time to share what is going on in our family these days since pictures of our home will be shared on Facebook soon. This is something I have struggled with sharing and have been in denial at times because, well, quite frankly, I'm comfortable where I'm at and it is not always fun or easy to say 'yes' to what God asks us to do sometimes.

A brief background... We built our dream home 4 years ago in west Fayetteville and were ready to finally make this our home place for many years to come.   But, like Proverbs 19:21 says, "Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails."  We had a plan, but He has revealed to us that He has a greater purpose for our family. A purpose that He has confirmed to us over and over, so much that we can't deny that this is what the Lord is asking us to do.

Back in the Fall, through a series of events in our personal lives, God gave us a vision for a future ministry.  The vision is to one day open a retreat place here in NW Arkansas for men's/women's retreats, marriage conferences, family retreats, etc. A peaceful place where those can come and draw nearer to the Lord and be restored, refreshed, and reunited with the Savior.

The Lord has given us this calling through scripture, songs, devotions, timely sermons that spoke about having courage to step out in faith, etc.  The verse of the day in my Bible app, on the day He gave us this vision for the ministry, was Ephesians 1:8, "With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ..."  And that same day my mom sent me a devotion that said, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?  No, nothing is too difficult when we believe in Him enough to go forward, doing His will and letting Him do the impossible for us. Even Abraham and Sarah could have blocked God's plan if they had continued to disbelieve."  ...It was hard to deny that it was His voice speaking to us.

God has continued to confirm this calling to us since that time.  I believe when He gives you an assignment, He also gives you an excitement and joy, too.  We are very excited about this future ministry and look forward to watching it unfold.

So, we have taken the first step of obedience and put our home and 10.5 acres on the market.   We aren't exactly sure yet when this will happen or what all the details will look like yet, but, we are trusting God to give us that wisdom as it is time. Land isn't getting any cheaper or more plentiful, so purchasing the land would be the next step of the process.

  Again, this has not been easy for me. It has been a stretching process as I have had to slowly loosen my grip on this home place. It holds much sentimental value with all of my dad's woodwork.. the cabinets, trim, staircase, mantles, etc.
But, we know that everything that this world has to offer is temporary, and how we use our time and resources we have on earth has an eternal impact.  We are ready to say, 'Yes', to this calling, let go of what may be holding us back, and let God do what seems like the impossible.

My prayer is that God will continue to use our home place for His purposes. It has been a wonderful place to host special birthdays, holidays, baby showers, and welcome guests in. Already so many memories have been made here and this will forever be a sweet chapter of the story God is orchestrating in our lives.  And now, we trust that God will bring just the right family to this home when it's time.

I know I can tend to be "long-winded" and thank you to those who have read this til the end!  We would like to ask for your prayer support as we step out in faith, believing God will bring to completion the work He has began in us. Please pray for protection against the enemy's attacks as he tries to do what he can to stop us. And for God to open and close the right doors as we move forward.

To God be the glory!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

Wow! It has been a whole year since I have made a blog post on here. Sorry to keep you all out of the loop with what's going on in our family. Alot can happen and children sure do change in just that amount of time! We hope you and your family are well and enjoying this beautiful Spring weather. The kids have really enjoyed getting out and playing in the nice warm sun.

Just a quick update on the kiddos. Julia is finishing up her Kindergarten year already! She graduated from Providence Classical Christian Academy Thursday night (4-29). It is a little bitter-sweet for me and just a glimpse of how fast it really will go! I think that is the #1 thing older moms tell me, is "You just really won't believe how fast it will go." I think that is the Lord's way of telling me, "Enjoy your children everyday and make the most of every moment!" Ok. Enough of that... back to Julia. She enjoyed playing Soccer in the Fall and Spring semesters. She had alot of fun, although it didn't come in so handy that we have instilled in her to 'share', 'take turns', 'be gentle'... it was a little awkward for her to get in there and get it first and to be aggressive! None-the-less she had fun and enjoyed playing. Going to school and having more responsibility has been good for her. I appreciate having her around three days a week at home and helping with the little ones. Julia is a great sister.

Alyson will be turning 3 in 2 weeks. So hard to believe my baby girl is getting to be that big! She is growing and changing so much as well. Her big personality is quite humerous sometimes. She just has this completely different way of looking at things... very comical! She either keeps me laughing or wanting to cry ;) I know the Lord gave her this special personality for a reason. I think I've mentioned this before, but my prayer for her is that she will be strong and bold for the Lord- I think she has what it takes!! But don't get me wrong. Alyson is the most loving, giving little girl and we really enjoy her. She still enjoys attending our church's Kid's Day Program and goes each Wednesday, which doesn't come around soon enough for her. She looks forward to going to 'school' everyday. Her best friend is Julie. It has been fun watching them grow closer in their sisterhood now that Alyson has turned into a 'big girl'. Sometimes I'll listen around the corner and hear them make-believe as they play babies or house. It is precious to see their little innocent minds and how they think...

Josiah turned one March 5. He is a big boy now, too! He began walking the week he turned one, so he is busy as he tries to keep up with his sisters. We have enjoyed having him around. Boys are sure different from girls! Early on he took up interest in playing with balls and cars and especially enjoys being outside. One thing I was always told before he came into the world was that, 'boys are so sweet and love their mommas!'. There is so much truth in that. Josiah is very close to his daddy- they are pretty big buddies, but he sure loves his momma. Every morning I really look forward to going in to his room and seeing his joyful smile and his readiness to see me. I just love his happy-go-lucky personality. I remember praying daily for him while he was in the womb that he would be a good, happy baby. ;)

Last, but not least, I have some exciting news to share. I would like to officially announce the upcoming arrival of our 4th (and hopefully final :) little blessing! We are expecting another baby, due to arrive around Thanksgiving. It was a little bit of a shock this time as we weren't quite expecting it to happen this soon. We knew we would eventually like to try for a little brother for Josiah, but God had His plan! Josiah and this baby will be about 21 months apart. I have been meaning to do this blog post for some time now, but have been putting it off. We had told our family at 8 weeks, but now that I am almost 11 weeks, there really isn't any hiding much longer as it is getting to be quite noticeable. So, for those of you who didn't know yet and just thought, "Wow! Miranda has really eaten good lately!" now you know :).

So, for those of you who are my prayer warrior buddies, please pray for our family as it will be busy and demanding, I'm sure, as we will have 4 under the age of 6. I know the Lord is good and by His Grace I can do ALL things through Him who gives me strength. He is the One who gives and takes away, the Ever-Present help in trouble, the Prince of Peace, the I AM, and Sustainer. He comforts and protects, He guides and directs. What would I... could I do without Him?!?! So. Knowing all this and believing it, I have to die to self a little more and submit fully to Him as I will continue to need Him minute by minute. Raising children is such a blessing, but isn't always easy and I am no perfect parent by any means. In fact, I fail many times at what I do, but there is nothing else here on Earth that I'd rather be doing. This is what I love and have been called to do. So, please pray for me (us), and that God would give me a new excitement and take away any fears or doubts. It is so easy to allow our flesh to worry and say, I can't do this. Apart from Him, I can't. But with Him and the power He has given me I can!

I love you all and pray a special blessing on your lives.

Here are a few recent pictures of our 'growing' family. Enjoy!

Alyson Kate
Eating yogurt and talking to Daddy on the phone

Everyday Alyson loves to go into the office and sit in the sunshine and have 'book time'. She will sit there for an hour sometimes and just 'read' books.

Soccer- Spring 2010
Julie, about to kick the ball!

At the end of every game the girls would yell, "Tunnel, Tunnel, Tunnel!!!" So, the parents would always make two lines and let the girls run through the tunnel. I think it was the highlight of the game!

Good season, girls!!

The girls at Silver Dollar City- about to go up, up, and away!

Our family at SDC

Josiah's First Birthday!

I thought this picture was so cute of the grandpas in the background watching

Julie learning to drive her first car.... as Alyson, in the passenger seat, is always ready for a good time (Whew- just a glimpse of what's ahead!)

Best Friends

Easter 2010

Cousins (on Brandon's side) 5 and counting!

Julia's Kindergarten Graduation
Julia with her beautiful and sweet teacher, Mrs. Bowen

What a proud face!

(This was a flash-forward to the future for me... can't you see her in 12 more years as she graduates High School?!)

Receiving Good Character Awards

Julia with her friend, Brightly

Our family

Uncle Rusty and Aunt Rachel

Mimi and Papa

Grandma Patsy and Grandpa Randy

Great Grandma and Grandpa Gray

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Our Spring Family Pictures 2009

A couple of weeks ago we went to the U of A where the tulips were beautiful. I took a few pictures of the kids and my mom and Patsy came along to take some of our family. We are thankful for the beautiful new life that Spring brings!

"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters." Psalm 24:1-2