Friday, July 31, 2009

Ukraine Update

I was able to talk to David yesterday via Skype.  He said that things are going pretty well with he and the team.  David has had a little trouble sleeping due to the time difference - not sure about the others - a few suitcases did not arrive and some reservations were lost.  He did ask for specific prayer for the health of a few of the "older" team members.  Overall, though, he said things are good.  They are greatly enjoying their time with the Ukrainian people and the church that they are serving with.  Thank you to those who are praying for all of these guys.  Please continue.

In addition, on Monday, two team members - Nancy and John Faile - had to quickly get off the plane in Atlanta before their flight to New York after receiving news that Nancy's mother had passed away.  This was definitely unexpected.  Thankfully the plane had not left yet, and they were able to return home in a timely manner.  Please be in prayer for Nancy and the rest of her family.   

A Word from John David

"Mommy told me Daddy flew on a plane,
Across the world, all the way to Ukraine!

I'm glad he's telling people about Jesus,
About God's love and how He can free us.

But I'll be glad when he's home,
I'm not going to lie - 
Without my Dad, I don't know how I'd survive! 

Our video games, Mom doesn't know how to play.
She can't swing me high; her belly gets in the way!

Mom can't climb with me on the playground or slide down the slide;
There have been no tunnels under the covers, no bean bag rides.

There's been no "Superfly" or "shark attacks" . . . 
(Oh man, when will Daddy be back?!?!)

Mommy tries to be fun, it's just not the same 
Painting pictures, reading, or playing match games. 

You know, sometimes a boy just needs "guy time"; 
At least I have granddads and uncles near by!

But with Dad - all the fun things we do - 
There is just nothing to compare it to!

For all of those things, I will have to be patient.
Until Tuesday?!  Well, I GUESS I can make it!" 

(To give her credit, Mom's not all THAT boring!) 

We both miss you, David!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

David leaves in the early morning (5 A.M.) with the other 14 team members from Circlewood Baptist to head to the Ukraine. They will be serving for a week in the Odessa area (highlighted above).  I decided to post a clock in the sidebar for my personal benefit to keep track of what time it is for Dave and the team.  (The clock provides the time for the city of Kiev, which is about 2 hours from Odessa. . . same time though.)  They will be 8 hours ahead of us here in Alabama, so hopefully the jet lag will not be too hard for anyone to overcome.  The team will be arriving at their destination on Tuesday afternoon; therefore, they will be spending a lot of time sitting on an airplane and waiting in airports for the next day or so.  Please be in prayer for the team as they travel and share the Good News of the Gospel of Christ with the Ukrainian people.  May the Lord open doors and provide opportunities to share the God's love through the Gospel in the airports, ticket lines, restaurants, etc. even before they get to their specific place of ministry for the week.  Thank you for your prayers.  We look forward to their return next Tuesday (August 4th) and can't wait to hear about all that the Lord does in and through each member of the team.    

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On the Road Again

We are SO THANKFUL to have David home . . . not for long though. This coming Monday he will be leaving the country, heading to the Ukraine on a mission trip with 14 other church members from Circlewood. This group is made up of people of all ages, which makes me really excited. For many, this will be a first-time experience serving the Lord outside of this country. I know it will be life-changing. Circlewood partners with a Ukrainian church, and our team is going to help serve this congregation and their community. Besides that, I'm not sure of any specific details of the trip.

Please be praying for David as he serves as team leader, that God will grant him wisdom and discernment throughout their trip, especially as he "manages" all of the details, which you know can be overwhelming, especially with a group this size.

Please pray for the rest of the team, that all will be healthy and safe. May the Lord do a mighty work in each of their hearts and lives as they set aside this time to serve and share the love of Christ.

Please pray this upcoming week as well, that the Gospel will penetrate the Ukraine and that many will come to taste and see the goodness of our Sovereign God! May our Circlewood team be an encouragement to the body of believers in our sister church. May God be glorified!

Please pray for John David and I back home. That, once again, we will survive without Daddy; preferably with no injuries this time.

Thank you to you all who prayed for David while he was gone to South Carolina. (or "South Caroline" as John David said - "Caroline" is the name of one of his teachers at school :) David said that the trip was great and that the Lord did a lot of work in the hearts of our students and chaperones. They also worked hard doing different mission projects, which David said were really a blessing to the SC community. Praise the Lord!

John David is SO glad to have his Daddy home!
They took this picture on our computer while being silly.
(Dave is growing his beard . . . he says it will give him a little more
"missionary credibility" in the Ukraine. Maybe so.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blocks and Knocks

David is still in South Carolina and he said that things are going well.  However, on the home front, we have had a little drama.  Tuesday evening, John David was excitedly running through the house, wearing only his diaper - he loves when I let him run around without any clothes on; a sense of freedom, I guess!  I was back in my bedroom when I heard a loud bang and then some intense crying.  John David had taken quite a fall.  While he was running, John David was holding a wooden block; so when he fell, he landed perfectly on the block so that it busted his bottom lip really badly and knocked two of his top teeth back in his gums - they are out of line and a little crooked now.  However, at first I just thought that it was his lip.  I couldn't believe how much blood there was - which I don't handle well - but I was trying to hold it together, especially since I was the only one there.  I tried to stop the bleeding and initially checked out his teeth. . .well, his bottom teeth, that is.  (I didn't notice his top teeth until later. . . which, it was at the point that I saw those that I did indeed start to freak out!)  Because he was unclad and he was covered in blood, I immediately fixed him a bath - to clean him up and help calm him down.  I called my dad and asked that he would come, mainly for moral support.  Still at this point I thought we were only dealing with a busted lip.  After getting John David out of the tub and proceeding to dry him off, I noticed the top teeth.  Thankfully my dad was already on the way, and after getting to our house, we loaded up in the car and headed straight to the dentist; my mom met us there.  We were told that his lip did not need stitches, thankfully, but that there was nothing that they could do about his teeth.  Hopefully his tongue will help push his teeth forward, but no guarantee.  He will probably loose these teeth early, but not before there is some discoloration.  Oh well, thankfully they aren't permanent teeth.  He still will have a sweet smile, and we will be reminded of this event daily until he looses those guys.  My mom said that she wished she could tell me that nothing like this would ever happen again, but of course, this is just the beginning . . . especially when being the mother of an energetic boy.  May God gives us grace for one day at a time!

The pictures are mainly for David's sake. . . he is dying to see his boy!     

The culprit. . . not too fond of this little thing right now.

(Not sure why this is underlined.)

Wednesday night, when the swelling was the worst.

The below pictures are from tonight; the swelling was much better today, but his bottom lip still looks rough.  
Here you can kind of see his front tooth (on the left) that is pushed back and a bit askew.  
So is the one to the left of that.  
But at least he is happy and doesn't seem to be in much pain.  

Praise the Lord he appears to be just fine! :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Little Addition . . .

 . . . . that I hope serves as big encouragement.  Kenny and Jana Cook, some friends from Alabama that we actually got to know during our time in Kentucky, have a wonderful blog that is telling the beautiful story that God has written for their lives.  I encourage you to take a peek into their window!  (You can by clicking on their names above.)  Anyway, on the sidebar of their blog they have a "verse of the day", which I wanted to incorporate on our blog as well.  I didn't want to do this without giving them props and to say "thank you" for the idea - I have been encouraged by the Scripture I have read the times I have visited their site.  May our hearts be encouraged by these wonderful Words of Life!  

Monday, July 13, 2009

From Baby to Big Boy

As I sit typing now, John David is lying fast asleep in his BIG BOY bed.  We made the transition from his crib to his big bed a little over a week ago in preparation for the coming of his little sister.  I have been amazed at how easily John David has transitioned and how well he has adapted to not only a new bed, but to an entirely different room.  He now excitedly refers to the nursery as "Claire's room" and is seeming to enjoy his "new room."  

However, I think that John David has made the transition much better than I have.  Taking his name off of the wall in the nursery was something that I had to work up to.  After several failed attempts that only caused me to leave his former room with tears in my eyes, I finally did remove the canvas my dear cousin painted for him that beautifully spelled out his name, as well as the meaning of it.  Removing a canvas from the wall sounds like a simple task, but what completing the task meant held a lot of weight for this emotional mother.  It meant that the nursery was no longer his room, nor did he need it to be.  He has turned into such a big boy, who no longer needs a crib, or a rocking chair (although I hope rocking will always find its place somewhere in our daily routine); I guess his continued need for the changing table helps me a little.  (Our pediatrician highly recommended waiting until AFTER the baby comes to start that process, in case he were to regress with all of the transition of a new sibling.  We'll keep you posted on that!)  Also, taking down the framed pictures of John David when he was first born, his tiny feet, and his sweet, swaddled newborn frame, was quite difficult.  So many precious memories and images rushed through my heart and mind.  But I knew that I didn't want John David to be confused about his room swap . . . with his name and pictures on the wall, I thought it may be a little puzzling to him.  That - and only that - is what finally convinced me to remove these objects at this point and time - objects that I didn't realize were so tightly tied to such sensitive heart strings.  

In the process of all of these emotions, I wanted to write a little something for my son.

It seems like only yesterday you were so very small . . . 
my newborn little boy; how I imagined all 
that life with you would hold - 
the joys and tears the same. 
No way could I have imagined 
all that truly came.
The first two years of your little life, 
only God knew what would be;
but His love and grace have covered you, 
proving an answered prayer for me.
Our Sovereign God knows what will be and foreknew that which has been,
and all we know is as long as you live, you shall be lent to Him.

Now as you have moved from your crib into your big boy bed, 
I pray that as you sleep each night, thoughts of Christ will fill your head.
And may He draw your heart to Himself and pursue you even now.
This is my prayer for you, my son, and on my knees I bow
and thank God for all that He is making you to be. 
I count it a privilege, it's my joy and smile, 
to enter year number three
of your life - John David, junior -  
Oh, I want you to know
how proud I am of you as I watch you learn and grow.
Each time I hear you call my name and share what's on your mind, 
my heart melts inside of me - oh, how the Lord is kind
to give me the role of being your mom, to love and nurture you, 
to share in your journey on this earth, until our lives are through. 

John David, you will be a big brother soon, an excellent one, I'm sure.
I know your sister will be proud of you, as you will be of her. 
And although, Lord willing, she will come to us in just a little while, 
know that you'll always be my eldest son, my precious first-born child. 

I love you, John David!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Missing Daddy Already

David and our youth leave for Mission Fuge camp in the wee hours of the morning . . . 3 a.m. to be exact! (And that's after their 1 a.m. meeting at IHOP for pancakes!)  They will be heading to South Carolina to be a part of the camp where they will be participating in different mission projects throughout the week.  

Please pray for David and the students, that the Lord will grant them safety traveling, as well as throughout the week, and that they will be the hands and feet of Christ to this South Carolina community.  May they experience the joy of serving others, and may those whom they are serving see the joy of Christ permeating through them.  Please pray that their serving will open doors for the Gospel to be shared and received.  

And please pray for John David and me, as we will be remaining behind.  A week without Daddy is a sad week for all.  I dread times when I have to be away from David, and for John David, there's nothing like "Daddy time."     

Let's face it . . . Daddy is a TON more fun than Mommy! 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fourth of July Fun

Fun with family, food and a festive dessert

Fun with cousin Ella

Fun with sparklers 
(not as dangerous as it looks!)

Fun watching the fireworks 
(preferably from the kitchen window :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

What's in a Name?

We decided to name our little girl Claire Elizabeth.  We wanted a name that was not overly used, not too trendy, had family ties, and had a good meaning.  After much discussion - primarily my initiative ;) - and much contemplation, we were thankful to decide on a name.  Honestly, after seeing her ultrasound picture, she looked more like a "Claire" than any other name we were thinking.  I know you can't tell a lot from those pictures, but we could see enough.  Once we get our printer/scanner hooked up, I hope to post a picture of her.  

We've liked Claire for a while, which means "bright & radiant; clear".  

"Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame" (Psalm 34:5).  

Our prayer is that she will look to Christ and clearly see Him in all of His beauty, that she will radiate Him all of her days.   May she shine brightly for His glory during her pilgrimage on earth.  I'm sure she will bring much brightness to our life, as well!  Also, Elizabeth means "My God is a vow"; in other words, God is a trustworthy, faithful, covenant God.  Amen!  May Claire taste and see the goodness of God and find her refuge in Him (Psalm 34:8).  Verses 9 & 10 of Psalm 34, go on to say:
"O fear the LORD, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want.  The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing."  I think I will just pray all of Psalm 34 over our little girl's life! 

After deciding on Claire, David's mom informed us that it was her mother's middle name. Elizabeth is my middle name, as well as both of my grandmothers'.

We are excited to meet little Claire, Lord willing, around September 24th.  I changed the ticker on our sidebar that counts down the days until Claire's arrival; the former one said that I had 132 days to go, and I knew that being a little over 2 months away, that couldn't be right.  This new counter says 80 days, which is more like it!  However, there is much to be done in not as much time as I thought!


And just a little insight into my complicated way of thinking.  (Sometimes, when I try to articulate the way I think to my sweet husband . . . well . . . once he replied, “If I thought like you do, I think my head would explode!!” J)  

When thinking about a name, I try to imagine the name on a birth announcement; how does it flow when written on a Christmas card along with the names of our other family members?; will it need correcting on the first day of school when the teacher calls roll?; I imagine them as a teenager, introducing themselves to new friends; I try to picture their name on a wedding invitation; how does it sound with Mr./Miss in front of it?

Although, "John David" has already been a bit complicated at times; for example, filling out a form with FIRST and MIDDLE NAME blanks. It helps with they have that third, PREFERRED NAME spot where I can make it known that he goes by both names.  Despite that, I am still glad that we made him a "junior" and gave him David's name.   And then there are some people, especially those who are NOT from the south, who seem to insist on calling him either “John” or “David”.  Oh well, you simply name your child whatever you like!  

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Beach Retreat '09

John David and I accompanied David and our youth group on this year's beach retreat to Laguna Beach in Panama City, FL.  I was privileged to serve as a small group leader during the week and greatly enjoyed my time with our students, as well as time with those from other churches.  (We went with three other church groups from Tuscaloosa.) Of course, taking John David along, it wasn't like I had a lot of "hang-out time", but it was good getting to be around our youth (as well as our adult chaperones and college leaders) for a concentrated week.  I was so proud of John David and how well he did on the trip. He loves the beach, but the pool was definitely his favorite.  He and David went swimming each day during the hour or so that I met with my small group.  Here are a few pictures from their fun together.      

Our good friend, Shane Parker, was the pastor for the week.  He did a fabulous job . . . from what I was able to hear.  John David and I usually had to leave the services each night before before the preaching began - bed time!  But David and others said Shane was great and the Lord was magnified!

David and the 3 other T-town youth pastors: Jon, Colby & Troy.
They were about to serve as the judges for the competition 
Laguna Beach Idol
Each small group had to come up with a skit, rap, dance, etc. and
performed it on the last night.  I missed this but heard it was hilarious!

Group photo on the last day, everyone is in their retreat t-shirt
(LOST was the theme, inspired by the TV series)

And John David . . . 

enjoying his Bruce the Shark sunglasses!

What a fun week at the beach!