Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? -Matthew 6:26

As we walk through this adventure called life, we remind ourselves that we are all precious children of our Father-- those of us who have walked a little further down the road striving to guide those who have been entrusted to our care for a time. Here is our journey down this path.



Sunday, September 30, 2012

Roll Call

Cynthia filled out the fellowship pad for us in church this morning.  Love.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Cynthiaism

I haven't done this in a while because her language is pretty much 'normal'.  But this was worth remembering!

Cynthia got to go on her first ever field trip yesterday.  She was so excited--after she figured out what a field trip was!

Her class went to a local dairy.  They got to see chickens, cows, horses, pumpkin patch, etc.  She was most impressed with the cow and the milk.

"Mama!  We got to see the milk come out of the cow.  From the hangy thing!  Then they put it in a bucket and in the washing machine to clean it.  Then it goes to the post office.  After that, it goes through this swirly thing into the bottles.  They put it in a truck and it goes to the grocery store and then the people buy it and drink it!"

Well, then.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

First of Many??

I know Cynthia is going to have questions about adoption, China, and probably others that I can't even imagine. She knows she was adopted.  She knows she is from China.  She looks at her book we made her about our trip all the time.  But I don't think she 'gets it'.  Yet.

I hope and pray we are instilling in her a sense of love and security so that when those questions do come, she is able to process them from a perspective of a feeling of belonging and understanding of God's providence in her life.

I don't know when those questions will start.  A couple of days ago, I think I had a glimpse.

She and I were alone in the car and she said, "I want to go on an airplane again."
Me:"Where would you like to go?"
C: "China"  "OR (dramatically)....maybe where Molly came from."
Hmmm.  Tread lightly.
Me:  "Molly is from here."
C: "When she was a baby?"
Me: "Yep"
C: "Did you know her?"
Me: mentally preparing myself for a difficult discussion "Yep"
C: In a high pitched surprised, but not upset voice "REALLY???"
Me: "Yes."
C: "Oh." Breaks into unrelated song from school...........

Well, not yet.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lessons from a YellowJacket

Despite the title--and the timing (I'm finally finishing this during the GT game!), this post is not about college football...

It has been a while, but there were some events over the summer that are worthy of 'scrapbooking' for our memories.

Because I don't want our kids to forget them.

Because I don't want to forget them. (Which is much more likely than prior statement!)

And because this event testifies to God's goodness and faithfulness...which none of us should forget.

Deuteronomy 4:9  Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.


We were blessed to be able to take a family trip to North GA this summer.  We spent lots of time outside exploring, hiking, resting, and just in wonder of God's creation.  More pics later of our adventures, but this event is the most memorable...for several reasons, which you will understand in a moment.

As I have said before, Jeff and I love the AT.  We wanted to give our kids a little taste of it, so planned to take a short hike from the starting point right near Amicalola Falls.  Or what looked 'right near' on the map.  Well, we obviously didn't do our homework very well....

We spent a good bit of time at the Falls state park, enjoying the falls, hiking through the woods, climbing all the way to the top and playing in the creek.  When we inquired about the starting point of the AT, we found out there was an "Approach Trail" to get to the Appalacian Trail head.

An EIGHT MILE approach trail.

Well, that obviously wasn't going to work.  We then asked if there was a way to drive to the beginning.  There is. There is a parking lot 0.9 miles past the beginning of the AT, so we could walk back to the beginning from there.

But....it was a 45 minute drive AROUND the mountain.  And then 6 miles down a dirt/gravel forest service road. Said parking lot would then be 'just on the left'.

OK, we're on vacation, no schedule, nowhere to be....let's go for it.  Nice drive through the mountains and woods....very slow going on the gravel/dirt...6 miles is a long way when you are going about 12 miles an hour!  We finally made it to the parking lot and found the trail.

Marked with white blazes on the trees...yep!  Here we are.  Our kids don't seem to catch our enthusiasm, yet.






We start walking....beautiful, cool in the woods, ferns all over the place.



Stopped to climb a rock and take some pictures....this is what we imagined.  Kids are getting into it.



We were walking along, breathing the clean air, Molly leading the way, Cynthia next, then Samuel.  We were probably about 0.7 miles in (i.e. 0.2 miles from our long awaited destination.)  We were asking if they would like to come back and hike and camp sometime....

Then it happened...


Samuel let out a yell....

Jeff and I looked up and he was surrounded by yellow jackets.  Swarming around him, buzzing, and, yes, stinging.  Jeff told him to come back toward me as he was swatting them away from Samuel's head.  He told the girls to run up the trail a little way to get away.  We were getting them all off of Samuel when it happened again.

Molly this time....shrill screaming.

Now at this point, the swarming hive was between us and the girls and I'm thinking, "AAH!  What now?!?!"  Well, not Jeff...he took off...right through the bees to get to his girl.  Of course taking a few for the team on the way through.  He grabbed the girls, brought them both back through the swarm towards us and told us all to book it away from there....which really didn't need to be said as we were already headed back toward the car.  (And no more pictures of this hike as I am sure you can understand!)

Molly was walking and crying (2 stings), repeatedly saying, "it hurts!", Samuel freezes again and yells "There's another one!" which there was--on his neck--had crawled out of his hair. (Made me laugh later that it probably thought it was at home in his hair.)  (5 stings)  Jeff grabbed that one and squashed it with his bare hand.  Then I got stung on the leg (1 for me) and was tearing up due to the trauma and extreme fear of my kids.  Jeff had to stop to get a few out of his shirt (8 stings) as we kept booking it toward the car.  Thomas & Cynthia managed to escape without stings, but not without experiencing it all with us!

We made it back to the car, jumped in, took some deep breaths and headed away...with still traumatized children in tow.  And a disappointed Daddy that we were SO CLOSE and had to ABOUT FACE/ABORT/RETREAT!!!

Later that night after the pain from the stings was fading, we started to discuss the event.

And this is what I want my kids--and myself--to remember.

I asked the kids what they thought about what happened.  After the 'HURT!', 'Scared!' 'Why do they have to sting?' replies, I asked about what Daddy did.  Without even a millisecond of hesitation, he became our protector, our rescuer, and our hero.  He sacrificed himself to help us.  Who did that remind them of?  Jesus.

Ephesians 5:25  Husbandslove your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

I asked if they thought Daddy was still scared of getting stung.  Yes.  What did that mean?  Courage=not the absence of fear, but knowing something else is more important.  A lesson Thomas learned from a coach recently.

We talked about how that is what a Daddy and husband should do....and that we pray that our boys will grow up to be Godly men who will protect their families one day.  That they would have that Christ-like attitude of self sacrifice.  That our girls would grow up and find men to love them and their children that much...just like their daddy.

For me, one other lesson (in addition to what a great man I'm married to!).  Several years ago, I was hiking at a local park with the kids and thought if someone hurt themselves, I would have a hard time, but I could probably eventually get them out.  BUT, if someone got stung and was allergic, there would be no way....so being the medically paranoid Dr. Mom, I started to carry an Epi-Pen.  I thought it wasn't a bad thing to have around, and if I didn't need it, maybe someone around us somewhere would.  Don't know if anyone is actually allergic, but... couldn't hurt.  Well, I had one with me.

ONE.

See above.

16 stings--4 people.  One Epi Pen.  As we were hightailing it away, I started to pray for protection.  It flashed through my mind--we are REALLY far away from anywhere, no cell service, no other people around.  What if more than one of us started to have an anaphylactic reaction?  How would I choose.....I didn't let my mind go any further.  That's not a decision any mother should have to make.  I just kept praying.  And running.

My lesson was that no matter how prepared I am, no matter how 'in control' I think I am, I am absolutely not.  Yes, I can be smart, make wise choices, use the gifts God has given us.  And we should--we should be thankful for wisdom, caution, medicine, help from others, and the blessing of a husband being who God called him to be.  But we should never, NEVER rely on that alone.  My only TRUE HOPE is my sustaining God.

Psalm 54:4  Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.

Despite the trauma of the afternoon, I think we all learned a valuable lesson and I hope and pray that our kids will remember that day as a day they saw the hands and feet of Jesus in action.  That it will be a living lesson to them.  I hope they (and I) will remember that Jesus loves them even more that Jeff does.  That he would sacrifice even more of himself that Jeff did.  And that he can save us from so much more than the bees that Jeff did.  That he loves us UNCONDITIONALLY, that he gave ALL, that he saves us COMPLETELY.

Romans 8:39  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Colossians 1:22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—


And who better to teach them that lesson about their Father than their father.  

Friday, July 20, 2012

Anniversary Trip--North Carolina

17 years.  
4 amazing children.  5 well lived in homes.  2 imperfect people.  
1 marriage blessed by God.

Jeff and I were so blessed to be able to go for a short but wonderful getaway to NC.  As we were driving, we realized it had been 8 years since the last time we got away just to go, no reason, no meeting, no kids.  Don't get me wrong, we LOVE exploring with our children, but it was really nice to reconnect!  And not to mention be able to sleep late, finish a discussion, and eat a meal during which I sat the whole time and cut only my OWN food! And enjoy the company of the man I love!
We stayed near the Blue Ridge Parkway and were able to take a leisurely drive, stopping to enjoy the breathtaking views...some spots so high we were in the clouds.



The temperature was such a blessing!  That is 11:08am, by the way!  We are usually nearing the century mark at home at that time of day.  AAAHHHH.

Beautiful butterflies were all over.


I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. -Psalm 50:11




This Masonic Marker was along the Parkway--built with stones from all over the world!  Including 41 nations, every continent...My favorite part below:

There is something about the mountains that speaks to my heart.  Looking at the magnitude of creation, I feel the greatness of God.

Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, LORD, preserve both people and animals. -Psalm 36:6




In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. Ps 95:4
Here is the last mile marker on the Parkway....what a beautiful place!!  
We then were in Great Smoky Mountain National Park...visited a "Mountain Farm" exhibit.  Actual house and corn cribs, barn, etc that were elsewhere in the park moved here for the exhibit.  I was feeling a bit artsy with my camera....I'd love to actually take a photography class someday!!



I thought these an appropriate subject matter for our weekend:



Do not be unequally yoked together.... -2Cor 6:14

More just for fun pics.







Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy. -Ps 98:8

We also visited this very cool working mill....




My tour guide. :)

We ran into 1 traffic jam during the whole trip.
Because of THIS GUY!  We both were encouraged that so many people were so excited about this!


We visited Clingman's Dome, the highest point in TN, and Newfound Gap along the TN/NC border where the park was dedicated by FDR.  It was getting cloudy at this point....and was really windy at the top of Clingman's!!

Both of these locations are along the AT--a place we really want to explore as a family sometime!!!!  We have big plans...Georgia to Maine, anyone???



This is the historic inn where we stayed.  A great, relaxing place to be!  The Balsam Mountain Inn.




Loved the quote on this plaque: "Man in his wisdom has made many wonderful and useful things, but no man can make a wilderness."
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. -Ps 90:2

And the best part of the trip...time with this guy!  Here's to many more years together!!!