Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Very Special Christmas with Casa Gabriel

Not sure even where to start - Christmas Eve with Casa Gabriel was one of the most special nights of my life. We started the evening with a huge feast of turkey and all the delicious sides. After dinner, we had a special time of giving thanks to God. Phil Douce (the director of Casa G) asked everyone to say something they were thankful for this Christmas. I praise God that He helped me to understand what the boys were saying. One could not speak without crying, one was thankful to be off of the streets, one was thankful to now have a family with all of us...

Sometimes I forget the background of these boys and what difficult experiences they have endured. I am thankful to be a part of each one of these boys' lives. This ministry is a gift from God. After a time of thanksgiving and prayer, it was time for the gift exchange.

With two big brothers and now 11 more older brothers with Casa Gabriel, Molly loves to be with girls any time she can. She had so much fun with the Douce girls and their cousin, Becky. Danelle (in the middle) is precious with Molly. Every Sunday, Danelle eats lunch with Molly in her lap. Chelsea Douce (on the right) goes to college in Missouri, so it has been a treat to get to know her and her brother, Jordan. Jordan also goes to college in Missouri.
During our Christmas Eve feast, Jordan went around to everyone and asked what their favorite food was and charted their answers on his graph. Chocolate was the winner!
Molly was Juan Miguel's secret santa. We did have to help her a little because she wanted to get Juan Miguel a Strawberry Shortcake for his present. Molly thought he would love that!
Daniel was excited to have picked Jordan's name out of a hat - he got to buy cool toys for Jordan! My favorite part was watching the faces of the givers. Each boy from Casa G received ten dollars to buy a present for who they picked. It is always more fun to give than to receive!
Luke was Alejandro's secret santa and he had so much fun picking out just the right gift - a hat and a clock for his room.
We ended our evening with a very big surprise! Our church, Grace Community in Tyler, Texas, raised money to buy new bicycles for each of the boys at Casa G! Thanks to our Student Ministries at our church - they had a Gift a Bike drive for Tyler and included Ecuador, too. Our church is such a blessing to us - THANK YOU!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Meet Annie

This is Annie, Jordan's new dog. We went to the pet store to "look" at all of the dogs. Jordan instantly fell in love with this puppy. The next thing I knew, we had a new member of the family. Jordan named her and is taking great care of her. He is a very responsible pet owner!
Annie is a very sweet puppy. We do hope that she will get tougher when she gets bigger - she is supposed to be our guard dog.

Molly's new baby to love

Time for a bedtime story

Jordan had to take his new puppy to school for show & tell - Annie was a hit!

Annie is always with one of the kids. Jordan made a great selection at Mascotas. Annie is a great puppy and has brought a lot of fun into our home.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Birthday Weekend

Happy 9th Birthday Luke! You bring so much joy to our family. We appreciate your positivity and your compassion for others. Thanks for working so hard to learn Spanish. You are an encouragement to us all. We love you are proud to have you as our son.

Luke was excited that his birthday was on a Sunday. He told us that it was perfect because all of the boys at Casa Gabriel are who he wanted at his birthday party. Luke loves to go to Casa Gabriel and spend time with all of the boys there - they are the reason Luke works so hard to learn Spanish.

We celebrated Casey, Miguel, and Luke's birthdays last Sunday. Miguel is 16! He has only been living at Casa G since the summer. At the party, he shared his story and how thankful he was to be off the streets. This was his first birthday party and cake. Birthdays are a big deal at Casa G. The boys get lots of gifts and it is a time for everyone to encourage them and pray for them.

All three birthday boys sit in the middle of the room to be prayed over by us.

What a fun way to spend Luke and Casey's birthdays! Each one of these guys is a testimony of God's redeeming love. After the cake, gifts, sharing time, and prayers, they cranked up the music. What's a party without dancing? I forgot to mention that Juan Miguel rapped a special birthday song for Miguel, Casey, and Luke before they blew out their candles. There is never a dull moment at Casa Gabriel!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

We're Here in Quito

Now that we have been in Quito for over a month, it is time to start blogging again. My goal is to update our blog weekly.

Quito is the capital of Ecuador, a big city high up in the mountains - elevation is about 9,500 feet. There are 2 million people who call Quito home. Because we are on the equator, the sun rises at 6:00 am and sets around 6:00 pm everyday. October marks the beginning of rainy season here. The sun usually shines brightly until about 1:00 in the afternoon - then comes the rain. It is very cold in our house. Our house has no central heat, and when the temperature drops to the 40-50's at night, it gets COLD!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Molly is Three - Yippee!

Molly Margaret turned three on August 17! We celebrated her birthday with precious friends and family at The Birthday House. Molly wanted a Dora Princess Party...so we had Dora plates and napkins and put on princess attire for the party. The girls dressed up in their fancy princess dresses and the boys put on Superman capes and pirate hats and headed downstairs for cupcakes.
Sweet friends

Dress up fun with friends

Eric & Jenn

Gran or as Molly calls her "Gee"

PePaw & MaMaw

Oh, how Molly loves her brothers

Daddy's little princess

My dear Molly Margaret - I love you with all of my heart and am so thankful to be your Mommy. You are a beautiful Gift from the Lord, and I praise God everyday that He gave you to me. Happy 3rd Birthday!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

No More Worries

I opened the kids' devotional book on Thursday to read with them and it was Devotional #56 Give Your Worries to God

The Bible verse read, "Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

There are lots of worries in our home right now, so we decided to write our concerns down on strips of paper. We took turns praying and giving our worries to our Lord. For a visual, we stuck them on a cross on our door. I went first and put one of my worries on the cross. Jordan said, "you put it on backwards - no one can see what you wrote". Exactly - it is no longer my worry or anyone else's worry in this house! What an amazing gift of grace and love through the cross.

"Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom." Psalm 145:3

When we focus on praising our Lord rather than trying to figure out what He is doing, our attitude does change. He is GOD and His greatness I cannot even begin to understand! With all of the unknowns in the Bryans' home right now, I am most thankful that one thing never changes - GOD.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Kudos to the Chef!

Jordan was the chef for the evening. He looked through recipe books and planned dinner for all of us. He created his grocery list and off we went to Brookshire's. On his menu for the evening:

Mexican Lasagna (new yummy recipe - of course Jordan would not try it)

Fruit Kabobs

Brownies - cut out with cookie cutters and decorated with icing and sprinkles

Jordan may not like to eat food, but he sure loves to prepare it and cook for others. Thanks for a delicious dinner!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

First Haircut

Thanks to Luke and Jordan for encouraging your little sister and getting so excited about her new princess haircut.



Thanks to Kerri who cuts our hair - she was so fun with Molly!

Molly loves her new haircut! She enjoyed her first trip to the "booty shop" for her new "Snow White" haircut. My 2 year old looks like such a big girl!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Molly & Maggie

love to
play dress up
and have
tea parties!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


What exactly is the Bryans family doing? You can watch our video that Grace Community Church made for us. The clip of Miguel captures the vision of Casa Gabriel's ministry.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Kindergarten graduation

Jordan loves his teacher, Ms. Cox. He learned so much from her. She taught her class wonderful things in fun, creative ways. The students were kissing their brains throughout the school year. Ms. Cox's class received the most Patriot Bucks (good behavior certificates awarded by other teachers and staff) in all of Jack Elementary. Jordan had a wonderful experience in kindergarten. We are so thankful for Ms. Cox and love her dearly.

Great friends in kindergarten

MaMaw & PePaw are so proud of this graduate

Jordan, you bring so much joy and laughter to our family with your sincere love for others and all of your silly ways. You were so nervous to start kindergarten and look at you now...much more confident - you surprised us all with your performance in The Three Piggy Opera! You are always eager to help and be a good friend. We love you very much and are proud of you. You will do great in first grade!