Monday, January 16, 2012
After we rang in the New Year it was time for our family to get ready for the Christian College Classic. The classic is an annual event that brings basketball teams (men and women) from various Christian colleges to play each other in a 3-day college basketball bonanza. This year, teams from seven colleges arrived on campus including: Dallas Christian College, Ozark Christian College, Nebraska Christian College, St. Louis Christian College, Kentucky Christian University, Lincoln Christian University, and Manhattan Christian College.
We had the privilege of hosting the women’s basketball team from our alma mater, Kentucky Christian University (KCU). When I say we hosted them, I mean we hosted them (all 18 of them!) in our home during the classic. You may think that it’s crazy to have 28 people in your house and to be honest I did too before they arrived. However, I think it is safe to say that having KCU in our home for the classic was one of the most enjoyable things we’ve been apart of in our time at Cookson.
I cannot praise the KCU Lady Knights enough. Our kids really enjoyed getting to know the team especially Kaylee; she melted quite a few of their hearts! One of our kids said that it was fun to meet college students that were a good influence and that they could look up to. Melissa and I knew coach Arnett from our days at KCU so seeing him again was a pleasure. He has done a fantastic job coaching up his team of girls both on and off the court. The girls were very respectful and fun to have in our home and they were ferocious ball players on the court. They won all three of their games with impressive performances. Our family had a blast cheering for KCU!
Our kids are already talking about next year’s Christian Classic and asking if we can host the Lady Knights again next year. We too are looking forward to next year and hope that KCU will be able to return to our home.
To read what the KCU Lady Knights had to say about the Christian College Classic click here.
Posted by Brandon and Melissa at 2:35 PM
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Around September the office asked our kids to come up with a list of things they would like for Christmas. Churches ask how they can help out during the season and the lists are passed out. Veteran house parents at Cookson warned me that Christmas is crazy, but I really didn’t know what they meant until I experienced it for myself. At least once or twice a week the office would call and say we had presents to pick up and each time I would be shocked at the amount we would bring home. Each one beautifully wrapped with a nametag attached. One church group even took the time to purchase a stocking for each family member and stitch their name on the front, which truly made my heart smile.
We celebrated our big family Christmas on the Wednesday before Christmas because many of our kids were able to go to their parent or guardian(s) to celebrate the holidays. I’ve now found the secret to waking up teenagers… PRESENTS and a 3-year-old saying, “Wake up! It’s Merry Christmas!” Before we opened presents Brandon read the Christmas story and reminded us all of the best gift we will ever receive, the gift of Jesus Christ. We then prayed and thanked God for all the people that made this Christmas special and how God brought us all together. Everyone then took turns ripping through the paper to see what treasures lay inside. It was priceless. We watched Christmas movies, ate lots of cookies, and had a great day just enjoying one another’s company. The evening ended with a hilarious game of charades that we still laugh about to this day.
After a day of recuperation half the kids went home to celebrate with their family of origin. Those who remained went with us to Rhema Bible Church in Tulsa and took a carriage ride through the beautiful Christmas light display. Christmas morning brought more presents and worship at our local church.
We celebrated the New Year by playing Apples to Apples, Spoons, drinking root beer floats, and a neighborhood silly string fight at midnight. As the year 2011 wound down, it made me stop and truly think about how amazingly blessed I am. This was a big year for us. I remember laying in bed at night in the spring praying, “God, I don’t want to go to Oklahoma! Are you kidding me? What do I know about Oklahoma other than the musical?! Why Oklahoma?!!!!” Each time feeling a peace that was beyond understanding pushing me with a gentle, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Now I look at each face. Hear each story. And my prayer is “God, thank you. Thank you for breaking my heart. Thank you for opening my mind. Thank you for helping me learn to love unconditionally.” I can’t imagine doing anything different. Don’t get me wrong. There are days I want to pull all my hair out. In fact, I have 3 gray hairs now! Even so, I am blessed beyond measure. Through the good, the bad, and the ugly I am starting to see growth, unconditional love, and hope. Pieces of my heart living under our roof that I didn’t even know existed until this fall. Thank you Jesus for knowing my heart and all the pieces I have and the pieces I haven’t yet got to meet. (Melissa)
Posted by Brandon and Melissa at 11:45 AM