Monday, January 4, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in PA...

It was worth it! The 3 hour drive to Nashville, wait in the airport, flight with a squirmy 1 year old and 1 1/2 hour drive to Lancaster (and reverse that for the trip home). We got to see family and friends who we love and love us.
Here are Jude and Prisca waiting in the Nashville airport for our flight to Philadelphia.
Here are Jude and Daddy enjoying the flight and hanging out.

Here are Mommy and Prisca in their seat. (Mommy definitely looks more happy and relaxed in the picture than she really was in reality at this point in the flight! ) All in all the kids did really well for their ages in the trip.
This is Dexter...Jude's doggy cousin who he played with and tormented during our visit.

Christmas morning we read the story of Christ being born. We take turns reading pages from the story and Jude would rotate laps, it was so cute!
Needless to say, the kids made out like bandits! Uncle Graham got Prisca a glow worm that she obviously loves.
Jude got a phone that does numbers and letters that he also loves! Also, his Elmo from Aunt Maggie and Uncle Rob is close by!
We celebrated Lauchlin's 36th birthday the next day with long time friends. (I didn't get many good pictures due to the chaos that was occuring with 6 kids running around.)

Nonna and Jude had alot of fun in the snow that was already on the ground when we arrived and then the 1 1/2 inches that we got while we were there. It was great to see him enjoying snow and for us to see and enjoy it as well.

As a typical New Yorker, Lauchlin thought a t-shirt was more than sufficient for the snow!

The second snow man was a much bigger success!
For New Years Eve and Day we progressed down to Maggie and Rob's new house in Pheonixville. They are working hard on their 'fixer upper' and it is looking great. 1 room down and a number to go but it was exciting to see their first home and also see what they are looking at doing.
Jude loved hanging out with his Uncle Rob!
After the kids went down, we were able to hang out and welcome the New Year together.
It was a great trip and I am glad that we made it! So grateful to spend quality time with family and friends. It was neat to introduce Priscila to most of them for the first time. Sad to think that Nonna, Uncle Graham, Aunt Magge and Uncle Rob won't be having hang out time with the kids for a while (or us)! Always wish we could see more people!
Well, hope you had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Much love,

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving and lots of time with Daddy....

Lauchlin has been the Thanksgiving Day cook basically since we have been married. This is fine with me because he is an excellent cook. So, Thanksgiving Day he was busy but has also gotten the process down so he could come out of the kitchen to hang out too in between making things...Then we put the kids down for a nap and had a yummy meal. It included, creamed onions and peas, stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, corn and cranberry relish. Pumpkin pie followed later. Yummy!
The kids had some of the meal later. But, it is much more relaxing initially to eat alone. We could just take our time and have adult conversation. This next picture is somewhat random but the only picture of me from the week since I am mostly behind the camera. My friend Katie graciously watched the kids for me the Tuesday before Thanksgiving so I could get my hair cut. Here it is....
With Lauchlin home for 4 days, the kids got lots of Daddy time. They LOVE it when he is home. Jude is always calling 'Daddy, where are you?' if Lauchlin isn't in the same room.

We also watched plenty of football which we all enjoy. Jude wears his Tennessee jersey every Saturday for college football. We have so many pictures of him in this jersey you probably are wondering if he has any other clothes.
Jude is loving playing blocks recently and building towers. He also loves to knock them over!!
Here they are as we watched 'Home Alone' on Sunday. Love that movie and have great memories of my Dad laughing so hard he cried at the antics of the robbers. Fun Thanksgiving weekend tradition!
Now we are anticipating visiting PA for Christmas! Not long at all!!
I have much to be thankful for! Happy Advent as well!
Much love,

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Just a little comparison and some fall pictures...

Here is Jude at 10 months old.... Here is Priscila at 10 months old...
At this point, lots of people ask me when I am out with them if they are twins. Jude is pretty big compared to Prisca so I'm not sure what that is about. I do see resemblance to each other but to me they look pretty different. Anyway, you decide.

I took the kids out to get some fall pictures. I couldn't resist this picture of the sun shining through Prisca's fuzzy stick up hair. It just won't lay down. I like it at this point knowing it won't last forever (I hope).
Pretty girl. I love this picture, she looks so peaceful to me.

Jude on the other hand looks pretty onry in this one. Fairly representative of their personalities. ;)
Jude was enjoying the leaves...Prisca just wasn't sure what was going on yet.
Here is the one picture I was able to get with them both looking at me. Whew, that is hard to do with no one helping.

Well Happy Fall!
Much love,

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jude is 2 years old.

This is Jude on the morning of his 2nd birthday. Can't believe it has been two years since he entered the world and our lives. What a blessing he is. On his actual birthday we....
Took a 'walky' which he loves to do and point out all the birds, squirrels and planes he sees.

Then he spent some time reading his books which he also likes to do.

Then on Saturday, because we had some more time, we had a little celebration for him and he opened his cards and gifts. He kept saying 'Happy Birthday Jude'. So, I think he got what was going on a little bit.

He also didn't seem to have any problem knowing what to do with his candles...

It was a fun time and I think Jude felt special. We love our little boy! Happy Birthday Jude!

Just for the is a picture of Prisca with her Mommy and Daddy. :)

We are loving the fall weather and watching football! Come on Thanksgiving and Christmas! I love this time of year!
Much love,
Mackenzi (for the family)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Community: Reflections on the body of believers.

We have been talking about community and the body of Christ a lot in church recently. As I contemplate how it has and continues to form who I am, I am just amazed. There have been times in the last months that I have found my self weeping in church with gratitude and joy for how God has used His body to impact me, love me and change me.

I grew up in the church and if you have, you know that it has real potential to cause hurt, cynicism and doubt. I cannot say that I came out unscathed. The body of Christ can really be very dysfunctional. However, when I look back, just like my family of origin, the body of Christ really just needed to be ‘good enough’ to accomplish the goal. It did. I experienced God over and over.

In the church I grew up in, I particularly experienced two characteristics of God, His love and faithfulness. A few examples would be: Mary my Sunday School teacher in kindergarten blessed me with her genuine smiles and hugs. I thought, "She must really like me." My great-aunt Millie E. taught the next grade up and she enthusiastically taught us bible stories (yes, on flannel graphs as I recall). Love. Larry played the piano at church most of my growing up years. He is a very gifted pianist and yet humbly played for our children’s choir, eventually my wedding and recently my Dad’s funeral. Faithful.

Over the years there were numerous adults, youth and children that were regular attenders and members at this church that I always knew would be at events. They cheered me on when I sang in the choir, did ridiculous parts in musicals, led children’s church, participated in youth events, graduated High School etc. They knew me and my family and loved us with their steady presence and common pursuit of community. This body was a safe place for me to explore my talents and gifts.

When I went to college, I was not only finding my independence as a young woman from my family but also my church. I explored at deeper levels what I believed and also whether where I had come from was where I wanted to go. Initially I was very critical of both my family and the part of God’s family I grew up in. During college I attended all sorts of churches. Some churches encouraged me to grow the emotional side of my faith, some the intellectual and some the practical. As I experienced each of these, I held a microscope up to where I had come from. Sometimes what I examined wasn’t pretty. But, they were there, being obedient to Christ’s call to be His body and meet together. If that was all they did (even though it wasn’t) it potentially would have been enough for me to experience God and for Him to be glorified.

Then I went to graduate school. I found a church that really lived out God’s call to be a body of believers that simply pursued after Christ and loved each other. Gospel. There I met and married my husband. They walked with us by discipling, encouraging and challenging us. When we hit hard times, they were steadfast and unwavering in their support. They spoke hard things when they needed to be said. Truth.

As we moved to Memphis, we were broken. We desperately needed God’s people to come through. When we connected to believers here, we found forgiveness, love, support and healing. God has shown us His practical provision through the body of Christ through four different cars being given to us, monetary help, places to live with no rent charged and the list goes on and on. It has been so humbling to see God’s people love and provide.

In the body of believers we are currently in we have begun raising our children. I already am so amazed at how our children are loved and cared for. I am excited to see how our children flourish by being apart of the body and seeing their parents participate in fellowship.

"The church is a whore and she is my mother." This quote by St. Augustine rings true for me. The church I grew up in was less than perfect and yet I believe still accomplished for me the overall goal of what God has called us to. They represented God to me by reflecting Him through relationship.

I write this mostly as a testimony to those who find the faults of the church so overwhelming and frustrating that they choose not to participate. I probably would agree with most if not all the accusations thrown at the church. We are messed up. But, that is kind of the point. If we can press in and experience even a taste of God through each other, how wonderful. If we can walk along side of each other when we all are hurting, how beautiful. Some of what God has done in my life has come in simply pushing through to be in relationship even when I felt really frustrated, dirty, disgusted and hopeless. Just simply surrendering and participating in a body of believers EVEN if they are messed up still positions us (me) to experience what God has created to happen there.

Trust me, I don’t get it. I don’t truly understand what happens when we commune. But something does...He comes.

By Mackenzi Groff, October 25, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It has been way too long...

and everytime I thought about posting I have felt overwhelmed with all that has gone on and I could talk about. So, I am just starting here....we have had a really busy and fun summer with lots of visitors. The Brennemans, Lauchlin's parents and my Mom all came to visit us over the summer. Our fall has been busy too. Here are a couple of recent pics of the kids. Jude will be 2 years old on Novemeber 4th and we can't believe it! He just gets more and more fun with time. He knows all his letters and is talking up a storm!

Prisca is such a joy and so sweet. She is getting all 4 front teeth, pulling up and can hold her own against Jude. She will be 9 months in a week.

Here they are together...temporarily still.

A week ago, we had a reunion with most of our friends from our Sunday School class back in the day when we were all young marrieds with no kids. Well, that has changed over the past couple of years.

That same day in the morning we dedicated Priscila Mae back to the Lord. It was a special time and we felt the weight and privilege of being her parents! Also, the amazing support from the body of Christ!

Prisca and her Daddy!

Prisca and her Mommy!

Sorry for such a long lag in my posting. I will do better now that I have taken the first step back into the blogging world!
Much love,
Mackenzi (for the family)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Brennemans came to visit and other things...

We had a great visit with the Brennemans. It was fun to love on each others kids and to see how they have grown since just November. Luke loved on Prisca and she was pretty tolerant of any roughness because that is what she gets on a daily basis.
The kids really enjoyed playing together and Jude just ate it up! He loves just running around and playing with other kids especially BIG kids. He called Luke Gookey all week.

They all wanted to get in. So here they are hanging out in Jude's crib...pun intended.

Here is Jude post visit trying to entertain himself now that there aren't any visitors to play with.

Prisca gets bear hugs on a daily basis and survives them pretty well. Honestly she often laughs.
Prisca is now 5 months old and is growing quickly. Hoping she can sit independently soon!
That's all for now.
Mackenzi :)