Dec 29, 2009

God Is Enough

For those of you who have been reading our blog since the beginning (2004) or at least since Roger was diagnosed with brain cancer (2006), you might be able to relate to the following. Pastor Matt Chandler of the Village Church in Dallas, Texas had a seizure a couple months ago which sent him to the doctor where a brain tumor was discovered. Soon after he was scheduled to have the tumor removed, experienced some difficulty after surgery which kept him in the hospital longer and required rehabilitation before he could find out the pathology results to make the decision about his next course of action. He began radiation therapy today. Sound familiar? It's kind of scary how familiar this story is to us.

Wow, as I have been keeping up with Matt's condition, streams of emotion keep flooding in as I am swept with memories of our experience in 2006. Being able to relate to what they are going through and knowing how scary and overwhelming it all is, one other element is also constant in our similar ordeals and that is our God is enough. When Roger walked into my office on that Tuesday and shut the door to tell me he had a tumor and it was scheduled to be removed the next Friday, our first thoughts and prayers were God will get us through this and He will be glorified in it. We had already experienced this two years before when Roger got the call from his First Sergeant saying he was being deployed to Iraq. We knew then God was sending him there for a reason and He would be glorified through it. As most of you know, God sent Roger to Washington DC instead of Iraq, in order for Roger to glorify Him there and to show He keeps his promises as our whole church prayed corporately Roger would not go to Iraq. Amazing story there too.

But what I mainly wanted to share with you today is, again, that our God is enough. He is faithful and He loves us and He's right there beside us in everything we are going through. But He is enough. I can not lie that it didn't cross my mind on more than one occasion that Roger might die in war in Iraq or on the operating table in DC, but I always knew no matter what, God would get me through it and I had Him. That's all I needed. Him. Nothing else.

Every time we go through a struggle I think about how we get through it because of Him. Before I found Jesus, I heard a lot of testimony at the church we were attending of people going to God when they went through a tough time. I remember thinking, "I hope when I go through my first tough time I remember to go to God first." You know, since I hadn't experienced anything 'bad' yet. And when we hit our first rough spot, the Iraq deployment, not even a year into our marriage, I remembered, "Go to God first." He is faithful. And He loves us. He keeps His promises. And He is enough.

You can keep up with Matt's story by visiting a blog on the church's website. And be motivated to praise God by watching a great video made by Matt's church family here.

Thanks for letting me share with you today what I have been experiencing lately. ~ Holly

Dec 23, 2009

Christmas Eve Service

I'm truly looking forward to our first ever Christmas Eve services at Austin New Church. I hope you are planning on joining us at 11530 Manchaca Rd, Austin 78748 and our special guest Andy Melvin as we celebrate in a simple time of worship and communion together.
  • Two identical services to chose from: 5pm and 7pm.
  • Plan on coming early to allow time to park, check in the kids, and find a seat.
  • Services will be approximately 45 minutes once we get started.
  • Childcare is provided for birth-preschool.
  • Elementary kids are encouraged to worship with their family.
Merry Christmas!

Dec 17, 2009

Update from the Austin Komen Race for the Cure

I had to share this as it really tore my heart in half.

Dear Friend,

The holiday season brings me joy and appreciation for family, tradition, laughter, love and blessings. I have a unique understanding of the word blessing. As many of you know, I have been fighting Stage IV breast cancer for four years now. It has been a challenging month since we finished the Komen Austin Race for the Cure on November 1st. I began to experience debilitating pain in my back and scans would later confirm that my cancer has spread. We immediately moved to a new drug with high hopes that it will slow this beast's progress. Only one drug remains in the medicine cabinet... please God, let this work. Forget needing more time to shop for Christmas. I need more time, period.

As I type this update to you I watch my son Reid sleep; Yes, bad mommy let him sleep with us tonight! I mentally cannot wrap my mind around not being here to raise this beautiful being. I struggle with celebrating the holiday season versus mourning the possibility that it may be my last. I have one more drug available to me and we are now beginning our search for trials. With all of the research being done out there, surely there is something that can see me through my 38th birthday, Reid's 6th birthday and the Komen Austin Race in 2010. That is what I want for Christmas this year....a chance to see Christmas NEXT year.

Many of you already know the name of my Race team is “Michelle’s Angels”. These amazing people have walked with me, stood by me and brought love and faith with them as we’ve experienced this journey through breast cancer together. They have helped me “eat life with a big spoon” and I like to think I’ve helped them live their life that way too.

Become a "Pink Angel" this Holiday...Holiday Pink Angels

This holiday as we search for ways to show the people we love how we feel, I want to encourage you to reach out for the intangible holiday gift that will impact not only you and the one who receives your gift, but also the many women just like me that Komen Austin supports with your generous donations throughout the year. Donate to the Pink Angels Holiday fund on behalf of a family member or friend and help Komen keep their promise to all people at risk, including me: to end breast cancer forever.

After you make your donation you will be able to email or download and print a Pink Angels Holiday eCard to let your loved one know they have been honored by you this season. There are many gifts we can choose to give but a gift of hope is eternal.

Thank you for all you do for the cause. With supporters as passionate as you, it is not a matter of if we will find a cure but when. Your continued love, hope and blessings ensures there will one day be a world without breast cancer.

My warmest wishes and blessings for the holiday,
Michelle Bynum
2009 Honorary Race Chair
Austin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

P.S. Don’t forget! Your year-end contribution to Komen Austin helps save lives AND is tax-deductible. Thank you again for your generosity!

Dec 16, 2009

Ways to Enjoy the Holidays Without Ruining Your Fitness

I get a newsletter every week from USA Triathlon (USAT) with good articles regarding fitness, nutrition, triathlons, etc. And this weeks newsletter had a great article about ways to enjoy the holidays without ruining your fitness. Even if you aren't training for triathlons or marathons, I think the tips in this article apply and can be used by anyone who doesn't want to over do it during the holidays. So check out the article "11 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays Without Ruining Your Fitness" from I personally won't be doing tip number 11. ~Holly

Dec 15, 2009

Advent Conspiracy Alternative Ideas

Below is a post from our church's blog about other ways we can take back the story of Christmas. There are some good options to think about and meditate on how we can change our Christmas stories.

Advent Conspiracy: Alternative Ideas

As a part of our pursuit to “take back the story of Christmas”, our hope is that we can encourage one another by providing practical ideas that accompany the heart of the simple and humble biblical story of Christmas. Most the people I know are frustrated with the patterns they’ve established with their Christmas spending. While the credit keeps piling up as well as the anxiety that goes along with it, often times the very joy we’re chasing is lost in the shuffle. And most certainly the story as well.

Here are a few alternative ideas to make a difference this Christmas. Feel free to add any that you might have:

  1. Simplify: If you’ve got kids, instead of buying a ton of things that probably won’t be remembered six months from now, narrow it down to four key things: (1) Something you want, (2) something you need, (3) something to wear, (4) something to read.
  2. Match It: Make a commitment to give away as much as you keep. For every dollar spent, donate a dollar to a favorite charity or non-profit organization. To see more about Austin New Church’s non-profit partners click HERE.
  3. Give Presence: Do something designed to spend time with your family or friends this Christmas. Take a trip instead of spending money on presents. A cheaper alternative is to do the same thing locally. Maybe a family game day or a day spent around town doing other things together.
  4. Volunteer Together: One of my favorite organizations and partners of ANC is Mobile Loaves and Fishes. Early Christmas morning they invite families to join them (before they open their own presents) and do truck runs to feed the homeless, give warm clothing, and more than anything, let them know they’re not forgotten on one of the hardest days of the year to be alone.
  5. Forego Your Gifts: Ask friends, family, co-workers to donate to the non-profit of your choice instead of them buying YOU a present. Maybe that’s a $20 donation to “Charity: Water” or a $50 micro-loan to KIVA. Either way, that’s a great way for YOU to be the one making the sacrifice, while increasing awareness in others.
  6. ReThink Christmas: Check out the website “Rethinking Christmas” to see what other “Advent Conspiracy” Churches are doing. There are some great ideas found on their website.

There are many, many, many more things we can do. Bottom line, it just takes some thought and maybe a little creativity. The reward and impact goes far beyond a single morning in December. Maybe you’ll even find a new family tradition that will pass down to your children and their children.

Dec 11, 2009

Another chance for last minute gifts!

Need any last minute gifts? Come shop Saturday, December 12th from 3pm-7pm in a relaxed atmosphere at the Legacy Model Home in Rancho Alto at 1821 Ralph Cox Rd, Austin, Texas 78748. Nine vendors will be there with special offers, one of a kind hand made gifts, yummy treats, and something for everyone on your list!

Dec 8, 2009

Holiday Extravaganza

I will be in attendance with about 30 other female vendors and business owners at a Holiday Extravaganza on Friday, December 11, 2009 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at My Party Palace, 208 West Bagdad Avenue, Round Rock 78664. Shop for unique holiday gifts in a relaxing atmosphere.

Dec 6, 2009

Change Your Christmas Tradition

We are started a new series of messages at Austin New Church today about changing our Christmas tradition to look more like the original Christmas story. It's called the Advent Conspiracy. The main topic of today's message was nothing tells the true story of Christmas better when the church lives, loves and gives like Jesus lived, loved and gave and for us to worship fully by spending less and giving more therefore loving all. It's a great contrast to what our Christmas stories look like today. You can listen to the message by clicking on "anc teaching" on the home page and launching the sermon player. I recommend listening to the introduction then the sermon. And you can watch a video introduction below. More information at

Dec 4, 2009

Eat At Jason’s Deli and Make a Difference

A great organization, Wonders and Worries, will be benefiting next Tuesday night, December 8th, from 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. from the meals purchased at six area Jason's Deli's. Wonders and Worries will receive 10% of all dine in sales. Wonders and Worries helps children cope when a parent has a chronic or life threatening illness.

For more information and a link to the flyer you need to print out and take with you, check out a blog post from Austin New Church here.

Dec 3, 2009

Busy Thanksgiving

We had one busy Thanksgiving weekend. It started on Thanksgiving morning. I ran the Austin Turkey Trot which benefits Caritas of Austin. It was five miles of fun. It was really a good run. I enjoyed every minute of it. Okay, not the last hill, but the rest was great. And I am really happy with my running time. I ran the entire five miles in one hour which means 12 minute miles. Not bad for a slow poke. I took a lot of pictures during the run. Yes, I ran with my camera. I do it in most races except triathlons. But my camera started acting funky during the middle of the race and didn't start acting right until the end. So I would have taken more pictures but I couldn't. I missed pictures of a lot of interesting costumes. You can check out the pictures by clicking on the picture to the left or here.

Then after getting home, showering and packing up, we went to Roger's parent's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Roger fried two turkeys and they were delicious. The guys watched all the football games outside and then in the garage while the rest of us got all the rest of the food ready inside. There was a full house of family and friends. You can see pictures by clicking on the picture to the left or here.

Then on Friday, after we slept in late because we didn't get home until 3:00 a.m., we went with the Mommaerts' family to see the movie A Christmas Carol in 3D at the IMAX. Then we had a great dinner of Indian food at the Clay Pit down town. No pictures from that because we were too busy stuffing our faces with delicious food!

Saturday we spent most of the day putting up the rest of the interior Christmas decorations and the Christmas tree. We don't decorate the inside very much, mainly because I'm lazy and don't want to have to take it all down at the end of the season. But we are very excited about our new Christmas tree. We can finally have a full size Christmas tree. So we donated our old Christmas tree and all the decorations to a family last year. Which meant we had to get all new Christmas decorations. But you know me, I'm frugal. So we made Christmas ornaments out of holiday cookie cutters and only had to get a few other items. You can see pictures of the Christmas decor by clicking on the picture above or here. We also took our Christmas card picture. But you can't see a picture of that until you get our infamous Christmas card in the mail.

And finally on Sunday, we helped renovate the Soli Deo Gloria building with fellow brothers and sisters from our church for Serve Austin Sunday. We had a great time working on the building getting it ready to serve East Austin better and getting to know people from our Restore Community (community group) and our church more. You can see pictures from Serve Austin Sunday by clicking on the picture to the left or here.

See, I told you we had a busy Thanksgiving weekend. ~ Holly