Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Goodnight Blessing

Though my sentiments relate entirely to Mr. Frost at the moment, having "miles to go before I sleep," I wanted to take time to document a precious moment that took place earlier with my boy.  There are so many of these moments that I have jotted down on scraps of paper, in hopes of not forgetting them and with intentions of future, more proper documentation; but I thought I'd go straight to the computer for this one.  

David had put John David to bed, but I had to interrupt his "settling in" with a dose of tummy medicine I had forgot to administer earlier.  After he more than willingly ingested the tasty meds, he requested that I lie down with him for a few minutes; and I, more than willingly, accepted the invite for some welcomed snuggle time.  

As he was lying there quietly next to me, every other second seeming to fight against his drooping eyelids, he asked me curiously, "Are you married?"  

"Yes," I replied, a bit humored by his somewhat random question.

I then showed him the rings on my left hand and explained how you can tell (most of the time) if someone is married or not.

I then asked him if he thought he'd get married one day. 

"Yes," he said.

Interested in his answer (and thinking he'd say one of his female cousins, as he's done in times past) I asked, "Who do you think you'll marry?"  

With his arm around my neck and having surrendered to his drooping lids, he said in the sweetest voice, "Someone else like you."  

He didn't open his eyes again and quickly drifted to sleep.  Meanwhile, my own eyes couldn't help but surrender to a tear.  

Thank you, John David, for making my heart melt, once again.  I love you, my child, and I can't wait to see all that the Lord has in store for you.

*photo courtesy of our kind friend at April Rain Photography

Monday, December 27, 2010

Another End to Another Chapter

My computer is propped in my lap on our Celebrate the Season pillow that I will soon pack away with the rest of our Christmas decor.  That's on dock for tomorrow, as are many other things on my lengthy "To Do" list.  This morning, David, the kids, and I headed out early to run errands.  After those were taken care of, we took time to enjoy a meal in a restaurant - which is a treat, and always interesting with two small children - and we are looking forward to spending some friends this evening.  I am sitting here to take a breath . . . not knowing where to begin with posting photos from the past month, amazed that another year has come and gone, and thinking through all of the change that is about to take place for our family.  

We are moving to North Carolina on Thursday.  Yes, we did just buy a house about 6 months ago, but the Lord providentially worked it our for David's brother and family - who are moving back to town - to begin renting it from us once we move.  The Lord has also provided a home for us to rent in our new little town.  The home is being built and is not quite finished, yet - thankfully - the Lord also provided a most desirable place to stay until it is complete.  (We will be house sitting for a family until they return, which is projected to be the exact "move in day" for our house.)  I am so grateful for how the Lord works out details.         

David began his job as senior pastor at Lake Gaston Baptist Church the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  He set out on his lengthy voyage to North Carolina in the wee hours of "Black Friday" morn (it did seem to bring me comfort knowing that there were lots of other individuals awake at that time:), and he did not return home to us until the 20th of this month.    So we were husband/daddy-less for 25 days!  (A record that I never hope to beat - nor even come CLOSE to beating - ever again!!)  By God's grace, the kids and I survived.  Because it was Christmas, there were lots of things going on to keep us busy; but on the other hand, it was Christmas . . . a sad time to be separated in my book.  It was so reassuring though to know that David was being WELL taken care of by our new church family (he had dinner in a different family's home EVERY evening!); he was having quality time with these dear folks and getting to know names and faces and life stories, etc.; he was visiting schools and meeting professionals regarding services for John David; he was finding us a place to live.  All of these things were important - to say the least - and knowing David was taking care of these important things brought great purpose to our extended time of separation.  We did have lots of great time with family and friends, however, as we were trying to make the most of these last days with all of them.  There were still many people that we did not get to see, but that is where I bellow a hearty "Praise the Lord!" for technology.  I am thankful for this means of keeping in touch and remaining a part of the lives of loved ones.

I was specifically grateful for technology (Skype, cell phones, text messages) while David was away.  A kind member of our church took these pictures (here a just a few) for me during David's first days at Lake Gaston.  Thank you, sweet Mary Frances.  I was SO appreciative!

David's first "official" Sunday as pastor
(This was after the evening service.  He did wear a tie that morning ;)  

Christmas Sunday at LGBC
He was the narrator in their cantata that morning and evening.

So as I sit here on the couch - the last Monday in our Alabama home, the last Monday of 2010, for that matter - so many emotions fill my heart; but so much comfort accompanies each emotion.  As children of God, we can experience TRUE comfort because of the promises of God; and we can indeed be comforted by His promises because of His unwavering character.  We know that He IS Faithfulness; He IS Love; He IS Hope and Joy and Peace.  He IS, and completely embodies, ALL that our hearts desire.  He does NOT change and remains the same yesterday, today, and forever.  His Word IS Truth, and we can count on every letter of it.  

Therefore, as we embark on a huge change in the life of our family, we can know that Sovereign God - who has ordained every detail of our lives before the foundations of the world - will, indeed, go with us.    

David pointed me to Psalm 139, and encouraged me to meditate on the whole chapter as we prepare for our transition.  I, too, will encourage you to do the same, as we all - no matter what you are facing individually - prepare to face a new year.      

Specifically, David told me how the author was marveling at the character of God - His Omnipotence, Omnipresence, Omniscience, and namely, the fact that He is intimately present in each aspect of our lives.  He said, "It's as if the psalmist was saying,
'You - this great God - still want to be with sinful me.'"  It is overwhelming . . . and oh-so-comforting!  

"I awake, and I am still with You."
Psalm 139:18b  

Since this is the last Monday of the year, I've decided that it will also be the last Scripture Memory Monday that I will post for a while.  Though I desire that hiding God's Word in my heart be a keen discipline in my life (and posting each week has served as a form of accountability), I do not think it's realistic to continue as we make our move.  I'm not sure when we will feel "settled" in our new residence, and I'm not sure how much I will be able to sit down at a computer at first.  

I do hope to post some pictures soon of the past month and finish documenting our Christmas festivities and celebrations, as well as some of the activities that the kids and I did while David was away.

Until then, if you are reading this now (and I'd be surprised if you've made it to the end of this lengthy post), I do ask that you pray for our family.  We need your prayers so desperately, and we would appreciate them more than you know.  I will try to post updates as I am able, so that you may know how to specifically intercede for each of us.  Also, if you are reading this, thank you for wanting to take a "glimpse" into the life of our family.  We do pray - with all of our hearts - that we will not waste this "vapor" that the Lord has granted us.  Oh, for grace to be faithful to Him in every area of our lives, in this new year, and until He returns!!  To God be the glory!! 


Friday, December 24, 2010




Monday, December 20, 2010

Scripture Memory Monday

I can only imagine the wonder of this amazing announcement;
and I love that God chose the lowly, humble shepherds 
to be the ones to witness this unprecedented proclamation.  
Years of waiting were finally over, silence from heaven had been broken -
the Promised One had come!

[13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, [14]“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”  
[15] When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 
“Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 
Luke 2:13-15 (ESV)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday's Photo

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday's Thanksgivings

I can't believe that it's Thursday again.  

The days and weeks and months are zooming!
We're over halfway through December, 
and I've hardly posted anything about this special Christmas season.
More to come on that . . . 

Almost daily I think about something that I'd like to post,
but by the end of the day, my physical and mental energy is spent!
Despite my tiredness and need to sleep tonight, 
I had to mention some reasons for giving thanks today.

1. My house is clean (most of it, at least.) And not just clean, but organized (well, most of it.)  I am so thankful for my Mom and Dad keeping the kids tonight so that I could accomplish this task!  David's been out of town, and this single parent thing can cause a few chores (like putting away the laundry or sorting through the clothes your kids have outgrown) to the wayside.  Oh the victory when items like these are checked off my list! 

2. Today, my cousin and her husband celebrated 4 years of marriage.  Happy Anniversary, Bethany and Alex!  We're so thankful for you and for your life as "one flesh" being lived for the glory of God.
Aren't they lovely?

3.  Bethany received a great report at the doctor today.  Bethany is pregnant with their second child - a baby girl, Ann Elizabeth - due in March.  In early November, there was an incident that caused alarm and concern.  (I literally used the "cut and paste" method to quote my Aunt Vicki's update on Facebook regarding the situation.)
"Bethany had quite a bit of bleeding in the middle of the night Nov. 6th ~ after several ultrasounds they discovered a nice size blood clot right under the baby sitting on her cervix. She was on bed rest for a while but after finding out that it was a blood clot for sure they took her off, but have been checking her every 2 weeks (having ultrasounds every other visit). Doctor said blood clot could get bigger, continue expelling (that's what the bleeding was), reabsorb (obviously the best results), or stay the same. She had an ultrasound this morning and they could not find the blood clot at all! The doctor was so surprised she made them do a second ultrasound where she went in and looked for herself ~ no blood clot!!!"
Thank you, Lord, for this great news!

4.  I was so thankful that my sis-in-law, Lynn, had her camera on hand!  My children are constantly doing things throughout the day that I wish I had my video camera out to document; however, it seems that if I were to run and get it, I'd miss the moment altogether!  Claire has been doing this a lot lately, and I was so glad that Lynn was able to capture it on video.

I'm grateful, dear Lord, 
for these reasons for thanksgiving - both big and small - today. 
We know that "Every good and perfect gift is from above, 
coming down from the Father of lights 
with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."
 ~ James 1:17 ~

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Very Own "Cindy Lou Who"?

I've always thought Cindy Lou Who was so cute.
There's no doubt she'd be welcomed in our home if she ever came for a visit.  
As I was watching a clip from How the Grinch Stole Christmas with John David tonight, 
I thought I saw a slight resemblance between this beloved blue-eyed darling and our little Claire.

After all these years, it's like Cindy Lou Who did stop by my house!
But, thankfully, this one's a keeper. ;)   

Scripture Memory Monday

I pray that I will never yawn in the face of grace.
And as we ponder the most unfathomable gift of grace this Christmas season,
may our celebration be focused on the miracle of Emmanuel - "GOD WITH US!"

[6] who, though he [Christ Jesus]was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, [7] but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. [8] And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. [9] Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, [10] so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, [11] and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:6-11 (ESV)

For some practical suggestions on how to keep Christ at the center of your family's celebration, see my cousin's blog HERE.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday's Photo

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday's Thanksgivings

Here's the post that I intended to make 2 weeks ago on Thanksgiving Day.
Though I didn't make note of it here, I spent much of the day counting my blessings!
And though there's no way to make note of each of them, I will start with a few.

  I am so thankful for . . . 
this amazingly wonderful man,

this delightfully endearing little boy,

and this adorably fun little girl.

I am also thankful for. . .  
our precious parents; 
our wonderful siblings, 
who have married fantastic spouses, 
who have given us delightful nieces and nephews; 
and for our dear grandparents, aunt, uncles, and cousins 
that continue to be such a special part of our lives.  
Thank you, kind & gracious Heavenly Father!

I was also very grateful that we were able to gather with my Dad's side of the family for a monumental Thanksgiving Day.
 This was the first time that all of the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren - along with all of the spouses - were able to gather together in one place.  
What a blessing!
*I wanted to note that Claire was napping during the picture.  
I was sad she missed it, but I was thankful she was finally getting some much needed rest. 

 busy Claire, pre-nap :)

 lots of love

 our "Elizabeth" picture

Ella and John David with Aunt Olivia

 cousins and friends

 the Buzz Lightyear pose :)

 adorable Griffin
(Erin and Drew's son)

 We were thankful that it was such a beautiful day.

the original 10 grandchildren

 and our spouses

 Uncle Eric, cousin Cyndy, Aunt Janice, and Dad

 Aunt Janice always brings a laugh :)

 Granny and Pop with the newest addition, 
sweet baby Lowery
(Erin and Drew's youngest)

And here, Granny and Pop were given the honor of unveiling the most recent baby announcements:
a BOY (Chris & Tiffany) and a GIRL (Lauren & Nacho),
both arriving in the Spring!

It was a Happy Thanksgiving, indeed!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Scripture Memory Monday

I am very thankful that we are getting to worship with my family these last few weeks before we move.  It's really been a blessing.  Last Monday, I shared about how I had been challenged and convicted by my Dad's sermon that previous Sunday (which I have not been able to find online yet.  I hope to share a link to it here soon.)  Well, this Sunday was no different. 

It's late now, and there's so much that I would like to say about it.  I think I'll just share bullet points of application from his message for now.

  • How is my walk with the Lord?  Can I truly say to others, as Paul did: "Follow me as I follow Christ?" 
  • How is my witness?  Paul said he was "all things to all people, that by all means [he] might save some."  Am I willing to reach out of my comfort zone, to make sacrifices [even extreme ones], in order to make a difference in the lives of others for the glory of God?  Do I labor over the lost (through earnest prayer and faithful action) as I should? 
  • Is my "religion" just a means of enjoying my pride in a morally acceptable way?  Paul's goal was not to draw a crowd or to draw people to himself.  He wanted to love others by pointing them to Christ.  Is this my aim?
  • Do I do what I do for the glory of God or for the praise of men?  
I thought these were all great questions to chew on.  Thanks, Dad.  And, again, each one was very, very convicting.     

I thought that I would try to meditate on Paul's ministry philosophy this week.
Oh, that my life would be spent radically loving God and others.  Period.  

 I pray for grace to be willing to do whatever that takes.

"[22] To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. [23] I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings." 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (ESV)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday's Photo

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday's Thanksgivings

I was about half-way through posting what I originally intended to, and something happened to the computer. Oh well.  I'll save that for another day. 

But I am so thankful for the wonderful day of sweet fellowship with family and friends.  I am also thankful for sleep.  I better go get some.  Good night!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rewind Wednesday : The Last of November

Farewell, November.
You were filled with lots of fun 
and many good memories.
(and please know that lots of tears, meltdowns, and discipline fill our days too;
I just prefer to make note of mostly our happy moments here. :)

So for now, I will put away my broken plate,

along with these little guys that I always look forward to getting out each year.

And so long to John David's "Jack-a-later" and the little treasures from the Pumpkin Patch.

A couple of weeks ago,
we were invited to the McPherson's camper for some fire, football, and frankfurters (hamburgers, too!)
 We love this family and enjoy spending time with them.
And Claire really likes Logan. ;)
Notice the GIANT marshmallow in Logan's hand; I'd never seen any that size before!

John David was with his friends.  They also had a Buzz Lightyear.  He was set.

It was David's idea to bring the Pack 'n Play for Claire.
 Though I was a bit leery as to whether or not we'd use it, it ended up being a great idea.  
She loved being outside by the fire, and it kept her safe and contained.
Good job, Dave! 

Cousin Abigail and family were there, too.
She made her first S'more.

Here's a closer, yummy look.
(with the marshmallow a little burnt; just the way I like it.)

The next day was Friday, November 19th: 
John David's last day at "Speech School."
 We are so proud of John David!  
He has worked so hard and has been one busy dude this semester. 

Here is "Miss Kristina," 
the graduate student that has worked with John David all semester long.
Thank you so much, Kristina!  You've been such a blessing to all of us.

Here is "Miss Rachel," another grad student whom John David enjoyed seeing each day.

I wanted to document John David's last time to "press the button" to open the door.  
This was always something to look forward to each morning. :) 

I cannot believe that our time at the University has come to a close.  The services that have been provided to us here have been remarkable; and it was only God's grace that allowed us to "get in" when we did.  The Lord is kind and takes care of His children.  Our experience at the Speech & Hearing Center - and all of the supervisors and students who have graciously and professionally worked with us - have been a beautiful testimony of that.  Praise the Lord!

Later that Friday evening, David and I went alone (John David was spending the night with JoJo and Pappy, and my mom came over to keep Claire) to a Going Away Party that some of our Circlewood folks gave us.  It was a delightful time of food and fellowship, and we felt very honored.  I am so grateful for those who pulled the gathering together, brought food, and just came to hang out.  I was so caught up in the fun that, though I had my camera nearby, I forgot to take pictures.  Oh well.  I'm documenting it here so I don't forget this great night!

Like I mentioned, John David spent the night with David's parent's Friday night.  When we went to pick him up on Saturday morning, we were able to enjoy the blessings of a beautiful autumn day.

On Monday, we were able to get away for an out-of-town fam jam! (David had already finished his job and was unemployed for a couple of weeks.  Thankfully, we had some money saved up for this outing. :)  We decided to take the kids to the McWane Center (or the "McQueen" Center, as John David called it. :)  There was lots to do and see and explore.  And Claire had just as much fun as the rest of us! 

 John David pet a hammerhead shark!!

 my little paleontologist
(If perhaps you're interested, click here to learn the difference between paleontology and archeology.)  

my meteorologist 
I may be more apt to watch the weather if I knew I'd see this guy each morning ;) 

big David

little David 

 and Mommy - along with a host of who knows how many GERMS!! - decided to join them.

I did NOT allow Claire to put her face in, though I did let her touch it.
Then the wipes were brought out for all!

John David stood in front of this blue screen and his image was portrayed on a monitor (like the weatherman).  But here he were in a soccer game, acting like the goalie.  
It was a lot of fun, and I was proud of JD for getting up there with the big boys; 
they were pretty intense.   

We pressed lots of buttons,

and I even agreed for my son to climb into a fishes mouth.  

He had already survived petting a shark.  I figured this wouldn't be too fatal. 

But my daring son did prefer to sit on the "bed of nails" instead of lie down.  
 I didn't blame him.

We were so glad that Daddy was free to join us,

and we were so thankful that he didn't get blown away!

Claire too!

The water attractions were especially a big hit for Claire,

but John David definitely experienced his share of enjoyment here too.

Needless to say, we were all pooped at the end of the day.

Not you too!
(after taking the picture, I noticed the 18 wheeler out the window)

Just kidding. 
We had a faithful captain 
who valiantly chose to conquer his weariness for the sake of the crew.
Thank you, Captain, for your choice, as well as for yet another great idea! 

Well, I guess that's a good start at trying to play "catch up" with the documentation of family events.  Maybe I should have included more pictures . . .  ;)