26 July 2011

heavy is settling in

One of the missionaries that I worked with in the Gambia was walking along the beach Friday and collapsed. He awoke in Heaven and left his family reeling. Here is the complete article - click here.

My {former} neighbor's husband passed away last weekend, I found out while we were traveling back from NC. He too left behind a wife and four children. You can read about "Robbie" here.

The week that we went to NC, a friend's nephew died. Because of SIDS. Her sister put her healthy little bundle to bed and when she went to get him he was lifeless. No reason, no cause, just gone.

I have cried about all of these situations. I've sat staring into space and wondered about the "whys". And I've got nothing.

I know that there are horribly sad circumstances in abundance each day all over the world. I know that is true. But right now, these circumstances that my friends & acquaintances are walking through are weighing heavy on my heart. I don't know much how to pray, and I don't have many encouraging words to offer.

God created me with a tender heart that invites others' pain to come and dwell inside. Its uncomfortable, but its how He made me. I hope as I bear a bit of their pain that I learn more of our Father's goodness as well. I pray that I will be obedient to Him; to offer encouragement when he prompts me; to be quiet before Him on their behalf; to trust that His ways are not our ways. And as He turns the mourning in to dancing, I pray that I will acknowledge His faithfulness.

If you think of it and would like to pray for these families, I know it will be appreciated.

23 July 2011

birthday recap

Wilson's recap is a brief one... his birthday was a long one!

As you know it started a day early with a surprise cake at Uncle David & Aunt Casey's house... then he spent his actual birthday in the van on the way home. We had lunch at Cracker Barrel per his request. We split the Double Fudge Coca-Cola Cake for dessert - because that was the cake he wanted me to make, and he wanted to compare the two... He opened his birthday cards when he got home from NC. If I remember correctly, he also had a package waiting for him, and his gift from Miss Barbie. We took pictures with my phone but they all turned out crappy. (excuse the language, Dad)

Tuesday was the official observance of his birthday - the day he gets out of having to do any family work whatsoever. We all look forward to our "day off." Unfortunately, we did have to go to the commissary, but it wasn't too bad. Wil requested ravioli and green beans for dinner! How awesomely simple! I made the Cracker Barrel Double Fudge Coca Cola Cake for dessert...

Sweet 8 year old grin, love it!

Blowing out the candles....
Wil took one bite and said, "this is WAY better than Cracker Barrel's cake!" Brad and I took a bite and looked at each other, I think we were both thinking the same thing..."not even close."

Then Wilson said, "Yes, IT IS better its not as rich!"

Oh, that explains it. Brad and I would've preferred rich, Wilson prefers not so rich. It was tough but we eventually managed to eat nearly the whole pan this week.

Overall, I think it was a good birthday for Wilson.

So, in case I try again, any tips on making a richer chocolate cake from scratch? I looked a bit online and other recipes seemed to use at least double the amount of cocoa that my recipe called for, but with similar amounts of flour & sugar. Is there a secret "rich baking cocoa" that I need to look for? One more question... what is a "sheet cake pan?" A 9x13 or a cookie sheet?

20 July 2011

NC trip

Well, with Brad's block-leave window being in May we haven't been able to plan a big summer trip. He decided to put in for a four-day-pass the only available weekend in July, which was the 15-18th. We originally thought about going to Panama City Beach, but then realized it might be the only time - for quite some time - for Brad to get to go meet his nephew. When Brad first called Dave about the idea, I think we all thought Breeze would be a week or so old by the time we got there... Turns out God had different plans.

We made reservations at this little cabin at Fort Bragg so we could be "out of the way" and also make a little family vacation out of the trip... turns out the Little Cabin is most desirable from this angle. A cute-picture-perfect-cabin. Not so perfect for actually sleeping. We only stayed one night and then stayed at a hotel closer to the hospital and David & Casey's house... turns out the "little family vacation" part of the trip was when we were actually with family ;)


So as we were driving to NC on Friday we were getting updates via text: water broke; checked in at hospital; dilated to 5; .... and then "pray now". That'll make your heart race! Turns out baby's heart was slowing down, dangerously so... the docs did an emergency c-section and Breeze was born healthy and strong at 1:57 (?). Thankfully, Mom and Dad were at the hospital with David & Casey during this time. We got to meet him Saturday morning (although this picture is from Sunday morning). Is he a little doll or what?

And here is the sweet momma at home with her baby. She hated to be in the hospital while we were all in town, but what are you gonna do after having a major surgery? Thankfully she got to come home Sunday afternoon. Casey was doing so very well in her new role as momma! She and David make a great team and it was so fun to get to see them jump in to their parenting roles. And seriously, isn't he the sweetest?

Wilson got his 'love tank' filled while playing a round of Monopoly Deal with Uncle Colson and Aunt Jacq. The kids also swam a ton at David & Casey's neighbor's house... they were very hospitable folks, and they promised to take care of Dave, Casey & Baby after we all left! So sweet!

Grandma & Grandpa surprised Wilson with a birthday cake! Its funny, because he had mentioned the day before "that it would be fun to have my birthday here!" He loved it! I think you can tell by this picture... These two are such good buddies!


Brennan and Brad... love this picture.

I would LOVE to know what Walker is telling Grandpa in this picture. It seems like it was rather interesting...

Wilson wasn't too thrilled about holding Baby Breeze... until Sunday evening, he finally wanted to give it a try. Once he did, he was hooked. It was so sweet to watch him! If Breeze fussed a little he'd lean in and whisper something sweet to him... (his eyes are bloodshot from the chlorine). So adorable...
It was so wonderful to get to be with family, even for a short trip. It was a sweet blessing, and I'm thankful God guided the plans - I'm pretty sure if we had known all the details going in, we may have tried to re-work our plans somehow, but the way God planned it for us was way better than we would've figured out. I was so worried about being in the way or creating too much chaos, but God knew where we should all be and when. He is faithful always. We are praising Him for a healthy baby, healthy momma, and happy family. We'll continue to pray for Casey's speedy & thorough healing.

19 July 2011

EIGHT

Wilson, my first baby, you are...

{enthusiastic}

{insightful}

{dashing}

{adventurous}

{prepared}

{creative}

{perceptive}


{playful}


...and so much more. You forever changed Mommy & Daddy the day you entered this world. You consistently challenge us to be more.

We often say you are an "old soul." And while we joke that its because you act like an old man sometimes, the truth is your little eight-year-old heart is sensitive beyond your years. You seem to know when there is a need, and you do your best to help. You are visibly bothered when you aren't able to help. I pray that your heart stays sensitive to the needs around you, even though it might be hard to carry that sensitivity sometimes. God will bless you for it, I know it.

Daddy and I could have never imagined the joy you would bring into our lives. And we would have never believed that at age 8 you would be in the middle of a fundraising goal to help people you might never meet. Its thrilling to see your relationship with God grow, and a blessing to be able to see Him challenge you through this. We love you.

08 July 2011

at-home VBS (plus some sewing pics)

Sometime after our VBS at church, Walker mentioned that he wished "every week was VBS!" And I thought I probably could find one at least for each week in June...but I wasn't serious about that. I kind of dismissed his comment until sometime after I had gone crazy from the continual fighting that was happening on a regular basis during the summer days.

So I did some googling. And I found some free VBS stuff online - I knew I would, google is good like that. Of course, I took bits & pieces to make it work for these two, but it was really pretty fun. And the fighting decreased (somewhat).

The theme was based on Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the Spirit.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."

It was a five-day lesson plan, but the boys were into it some days and not so much on other days so it took us two weeks. And that's ok, because it was fun. Here are a few pictures from them playing with our "fruity" playdough (I used this recipe for kool-aid playdough - the boys had fun making it!)They also made mini-books with each of the characteristics listed - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Ironically, Walker's patience fell in the dog's water dish). In the process, Wilson and I memorized the verses. Walker remembers two characteristics without fail - joy, and self-control! We talked about how the Holy Spirit can help us display this fruit in our days. And that we should pray for help. The boys made little reminders for their rooms that say, "make today fruity" - you can see one on the side of this picture with Walker.
And naturally I wanted a reminder too. Mine is for the kitchen. While googling "fruit of the Spirit craft tutorials" I found this. I had to load the verse myself so I could get it to print to fit in an 8x10 frame. That website was so fun!

Oh, and I had done some sewing last week too; the background fabric of the boys' "make today fruity" reminders is scrap-fabric from this pillowcase dress. Its very fruity!
I took these over to Bit of Benning, we'll see if some of them sell.

I have two other theme ideas for at-home VBS ; hidden treasure, and the Armor of God. I'll kinda play it by ear to see if the boys want to do it some more. I figure centering our play around scripture is a good way to get some of it stuck in their brains for the long-haul. And, it is fun to say to the boys, "Make sure you are fruity while we're in the store," and give them a little wink. ;)

05 July 2011

Running Brad

Brad ran in the Peachtree Road Race yesterday - along with 59,999 other people. One of those other people was Brad's boss; pictured above (who is moving in a couple weeks.) Brad didn't quite make his goal pace, but he did finish well. And I am so proud.

I think you probably know how much Brad hated running not all that long ago. The combination of the asthma diagnosis with improper treatment made running a horrible experience for Brad. Add to it the bosses he had at Fort Sill that assumed Brad was a scammer and it was just awful. He often felt defeated. As his wife, I hated it for him. I think there are few things worse than knowing your husband isn't being respected (and I'd be naive to think that this only happens to husbands in the Army).

As you might remember, while Brad was in Africa his running experience began to change. He has worked hard. He's invested time and money into improving his running. He has stopped claiming that he "just isn't built for running." And I've mentioned this before but its worth repeating, God has blessed Brad with some great guys that have encouraged his running efforts. Brad downloads sermons to listen to while he runs. The time he spends running isn't just about running. Somehow, God has turned running into a benefit for Brad.

Brad has taught me (and our boys) an incredible lesson. "You might not be that great at something, you might not even be built for it; but sometimes its what you have to do. If you give it to God, and ask Him to help you; if you work hard, and invest in getting better; you will. God will take this thing you struggle with and make it a treasure*."

Granted this lesson was not taught using words, but actions.

* and yes some days running is nothing more than a giant suck-fest, but Brad is not defeated by it. That is the treasure.

We'll update Wilson's blog later with more pictures and his perspective of Race day.

02 July 2011

summer reading program...

Wilson has been devouring books. I mean, this kid can R-E-A-D! Wow. So I decided to take him to the library two weeks ago while Walker was at MMO. But the library by church was "closed for renovation." Bummer. We decided we'd go to the main library after we picked Walker up on the way home...

We were so glad that we had to go to the main library! They have a huge children's room and there is no shhhhushing necessary. Awesome! Here's Wilson, in the Hardy Boy's section...And Walker with his bag full - Barbie made these bags for the boys and I just added the little pocket on front for their library cards this week. (Walker wanted to get his own library card on his birthday! And, forgetter-mom did not want to have to keep track of 3 library cards!)
Yesterday, we had some family errands to run... Brad dropped the boys and I off at the library while he went to the bank and post office. I was at a loss for where to find a good list of decent, age-appropriate books... then I remembered the homeschool curriculum that was used when I was in Africa... Sonlight! I found their book lists and uploaded the pdf to my phone so Wilson will always have some suggested reading - for when he finishes all the Hardy Boys' books!

Wilson checked out his first Encyclopedia Brown book yesterday. Brad had recommended it a few weeks ago, when we saw it last week at the library Wilson wasn't too sure about it. Well, he changed his mind by this week so he got it. He started reading when we got in the car. To finish off the errand running we had two more stops to make: first, Wal-mart -where we all went in; and second, Big Dog Running - where the boys and I waited in the car while Daddy went in to get a belt for his race (more on that later). Of course, we had to stop at Sonic because it was Happy Hour...

And when we got home Wilson says, "I finished the Encyclopedia Brown book already."

Wow!

Good thing I let him pick out 4 books this time.

Oh, and shortly thereafter Walker told me that he had finished ALL of his books. Little cutie ;)