Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oh, Jolly! We're Back!!

Oh,my goodness! We're back!!

Mom is busy taking care of all the laundry, so this is Emily.
We had a perfectly awesome trip! We spent the first night in Williams, Arizona and were "welcomed" by a cowboy skit out in the street!
We got up early Wednesday and hurried to the train station. The day of our Grand Canyon tour!! Before hopping on the train, we watched another cowboy skit.

Love that photo!

OK. To make a long story short, it was our first train ride and we were very excited-especially David............Did I tell you that he claims to have drank SEVEN Sprites and that when we asked him his favorite part of the trip, he answered,"Besides all the Sprites?
Hum....I can't think of anything"!! OK. That's David for you-loves soda.

Anyway, I think we got some great shots of the canyon from different view points. Oh, my goodness!! SUCH beautiful scenery!! It was definitely worth the heat!

Caves in the side of the canyon. Actually, Indians used to live in the caves!

The Colorado River

And we actually had a" surprise train robbery" on the train ride back to Williams! Surprising how nervous you can get even when you know what's coming!

Thursday, we just spent the day touring Williams, and Dad and us older three went horseback riding for the first time!

Friday was another long day in the car on the way to Tucson, Arizona. We had had plans to stop by the house of some of our very good neighbors who had moved to Phoenix, and we were very grateful for those plans. When we were driving in the gate, the guard told us that we had a flat tire! Thankfully, we were able to pull under a tree and wait for the Cooks to come pick us up. Did I mention that we were standing in heat possibly near 112 degrees Fahrenheit?! Anyway, we arrived safely in our nice and cool hotel room after spending a fun afternoon ''swimming'' in the Cook's small pool. Let me mention that Mom's definition for swimming that afternoon was sticking your feet in the water, not your whole body. However, we did end up get more than"a little"wet, thanks to the idea of trying to "catch" this rubber ducky thermometer!

The next morning we took an hour's drive to Tombstone, Arizona. Earlier, we had received the news that it would probably be exceedingly hot, so we were extra grateful when those welcomed storm clouds began settling in and a light sprinkle began.

Oh well, Mom says that my time is up so maybe she'll finish it up for me!
OK, I'm logging out.

Friday, June 13, 2008


School's Out!!

Today was the last day of our school year.
We're all ready to take a break for awhile before hitting the books again in August.
My "students" have already been busy transforming our backyard into a fantasy play area.
I realized today that we enjoy being home. . . . together.
My kids enjoy playing with each other . . .always have.
I'm grateful for that.
Terribly so!
I love to hear them squealing and laughing and imagining together out back.
Yes . . . we have the same heart issues that others do that must be worked through at times.
And that reminds me that I'm grateful for a husband who has given us a vision as a family to work through those attitudes to the glory of God in our home.

So, here's to slower days together enjoying all our "toys", and good books,
and enjoying days out with friends,
and adventures together!

Now, if you'll excuse me . . . I've got a vacation to plan!
Grand Canyon . . . HERE WE COME!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Exceedingly. Abundantly.

My last post was on "shattered dreams".
This one is on . . .
God granting dreams that you haven't even dared to dream.
But that's the kind of God He is -
delighting to bless His children . . .
just because He can!

A few weeks ago,
at church,
between services,
a couple handed me an envelope and said,
"This is a little something for your upcoming vacation."
(We're going to the Grand Canyon in two weeks!!)
A "little" something.

Well, as Earl and my children will tell you,
I don't live long with curiosity.
So, during the announcements,
I peeked.
I had to.
The envelope felt different than I expected a "little something" to feel.

I just about did a Geneva Jig
right there in the aisle.
But of course, that would have been unbecoming
of "the pastor's wife".
So, instead, I sat there in shock . . .
barely able to concentrate the rest of the service.
"I have to give this back."
"It's too much."
In the envelope was a check
and a clear message that it was to be used
to buy a new camera.
A "little something" for our vacation. Yeah, right.

Now, we already had a camera.
And I have been very content with it,
(I had to be - nothing else was even remotely possible in the foreseeable future!)
getting some great pictures.
And I've loved this camera because it too
was an expression of love from our
church to us five years ago when we
had no camera of our own.

But now the Lord has seen fit
to do exceedingly and abundantly above what I have even thought about
or dreamed about!
He has provided a new SLR camera.
The camera of my dreams!
A Nikon D40.

Think about it.
God tells us to lay up treasures in Heaven, where neither rust nor moth destroys,
and where thieves can't break in and steal.
And then He goes and blesses His children with mere toys.
Temporal toys.
Imagine then, what "energy" He must be expending to bless us in the spiritual realm!
(Dear Gentle Reader, please don't misinterpret my use of the word "energy". I just can't think outside of human terms right now.)

"Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

If my God will go to such great lengths to bless me
with things that may perish tomorrow,
then I surely can trust Him
to confirm me to the end
and to present me spotless
and to provide all I need for life and godliness.

My mind and spirit have enjoyed trying to wrap themselves
around this truth lately!

Thank you again, O gracious God,
and generous benefactors!

Shattered Dreams

My favorite coffee mug was broken this morning by our expert resident dishwasher-unloader.
My coffee mug.
favorite coffee mug.
This is the
second mug of mine that has been broken.
Earl's all remain in tack.
(I'm beginning to become suspicious . . . )
As I was back in our bedroom bemoaning my loss
(It was my favorite color, it just felt right in my tiny, petite hands . . . sigh . . . )
my husband made light of this tragedy by using the phrase "Shattered Dreams".
I rolled my eyes, and said something like,
"You just don't understand"

(I actually often do this, but then we both burst out laughing, 'cause it's so NOT true!).
But then, I began to think back to last night and to a conversation I had with a dear friend who sat opposite me at our dining room table explaining how she never thought she'd be where she was now and how this present reality didn't fit with her "dreams".

I started thinking.

How do we find ourselves facing "shattered dreams"?
As Christians, how are we to respond to the fact that life often doesn't turn out how we had planned or hoped?
I think the answer lies partly in where our hope lies.
Is our hope in what our family "looks" like and our experiences
or rather in the fact that God is honored and glorified . .. however the means?

Specifically, when we as mothers look at our homes and children and husbands, we can be very critical of ourselves because of the standard that is often presented.
We often think that our homes need to look a certain way, or our husbands need to lead in a particular style, or our children need to behave a certain way and be involved in certain things and the list goes on and on.
But who defines this "certain way"?
How do we learn it?
It's often "taught" to us women even before we get married.
We have dreams of what it will be like to be married and be a mom.
My husband and I will be like "this".
My children will be like "this".
My home will be like "this".
Dreams are good and right and healthy.
And they are meant to motivate us to higher ground.
But something more needs to happen.

I was impressed with a young girl in our church who got married at 19. Her very wise fiance, encouraged her to look around at the homes/families/moms she admired and to ask them questions. Which she did!
Now, this woman has been married about 5 years and has two children.
And life is very different than how she imagined.
Just ask her.
But she hasn't lost her joy.
(Ok, sometimes when she has only gotten 2 hours of sleep at night, the joy's a little bit harder to find . . . but hey!)

She was prepared.
'Cause not only did she look at other homes and say, "That's what I want in my future",
but she asked those people, "How did you accomplish that?" and then actually listened.

I think sometimes we feel that because we have been created women,
that we will naturally know all there is to know about being a wife and mother.
But if that is the case, then why did Paul instruct Timothy to instruct the older women to teach the younger women to be keepers at home and to love their own husbands and children? There are some practical issues that must be passed along and taught.

I am so eternally grateful for the women who were placed in my life who welcomed me into their homes when I was a young single gal and who let me watch their families and "listen" to their marriages and see the reality of a home during the busy seasons of life. I also saw the potential for using the home as ministry to others.
And that has been what has fueled my dreams . . .

"Lord, let my marriage honor You.
Let my children see You in me and be drawn to You through Your kindness to them.
And Lord, please let our home be comfortable for us as a family, yet also a haven to those who may pass through and need some calm from out of the storms of life and a place to just rest."

That has been my motivation.
That has been my dream.
It brings freedom for my husband when that is my dream.
It brings freedom to my children when that is my dream.
And I am amazed to see the Lord bringing my dreams to life!

Now mind you, it all has looked different along the way at times . . .
but the dream hasn't changed
because it's founded solidly on the glory of God in His people.
And that's a dream that will never shatter!

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