Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summer Is Here!

No, I know it's not June 21st, but it feels as if summer is here as the boys started swim team practice last week and Lottie has decided to take the plunge with the 6 and unders this year! Her first practice was on Monday and she was a little unsure of herself as it was raining and the pool water was chilly and she was freezing!
Here she is doing a few pre-swim stretches....
Today was a little warmer and her friend Abbey joined her for practice today!
She was all smiles today with the excepton of looking for her towel when she got out of the water after each lap of swimming! Hopefully, each day will bring warmer weather and warmer pool water! We are looking forward to spending many lazy days at the pool this summer! That is after we get back from Ethiopia anyway!! The next two weeks will be anything BUT LAZY!! We are leaving June 11th and returning on the 25th! Yes, just over two weeks away!!! My heart has already left the country. Now I just need to get everything else in order for our departure!!


Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Boys see DC Close Up

This post is guest authored by my 10 year old son, Noah...

Last week my dad took my brother and I with him on a Close Up field trip to Washington D.C.

Our focus on our trip was The Holocaust Museum and Genocide.

We also got to go to Arlington Cemetery, The Washington, Lincoln, Korean, Vietnam and WWII Memorials.
This is the Washington Monument....

And the WWII Memorial......

The Vietnam Memorial......

We went to the Rwandan Embassy and talked to an advisor from Rwanda about the genocide there in 1994. The Air and Space and the American Indian Smithsonians were awesome. I got to ride the interactive flight simulator there. Then we went to the American Indian Museum and talked about the possibility of the Europeans committing Genocide when they arrived in the new world. Also about the possibility of the U.S. government committing Genocide.
In the Holocaust Museum we saw the regular exhibit and also got to talk to a Holocaust survivor that was very kind.....

It started to hail while we were at the Korean Memorial. It was cool. I had a great time!!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Sisterchick Adventure!

My bestest girlfriend , Dianne and I have talked about taking a girls weekend for a long time now but life gets busy and it never gets planned.....until this past weekend! We have read and laughed through the Sisterchick book series by Robin Jones Gunn and we were ready to take off on an adventure of our own!! So that is just what we did! We found out that the Women of Joy Christian Women's Conference was going to be held in Charleston, SC . So we signed up for the conference a few weeks ago. Dianne had a friend who she churches with whose mother had an older home right in the heart of Charleston that had more or less been abandoned when her mother had to be placed in a nursing home . She said we could "camp out " there for the weekend! So last Friday after seeing my husband and boys off to Washington DC for a "guys" weekend(The boys were joining their daddy on a field trip to DC!)and leaving Lottie with her Nanny and Papa(They had plans to see Dora and Kai Lan in Story Time Live at the local theater!)and Dianne rushing around to tie up loose ends at work , we were finally off on our Sisterchick adventure!! We were thrilled to have the weekend ahead of us to play, worship and fellowship together!! It really didn't matter where we were going , we were just glad to be sharing it together!! Our trip down was pretty uneventful with the exception of our giggles as we shared and caught up on the events of the last few days. That is to say it was uneventful until we were about 10 miles from the coliseum where the conference was being held. As we drove into town we began hearing a rattling noise coming from underneath the car. It only got worse as we got closer. On arriving at the coliseum we got out of the car and looked under the car to find the whole exhaust system literally hanging under the car and dragging the ground.

We called AAA only to find that there was no place open to have us towed on a Friday night. He thought if we drove slowly we could make it a few miles and bring it to the AAA car care center on saturday morn. So with that bit of news we headed on to the conference and got to laugh out loud with the first speaker Anita Renfroe, a Christian comedian. After our therapeutic dose of laughter, we returned to our car and began our cautious drive to our weekend accomodations. After a little help from the GPS , a few U-turns, a few gasps when the exhaust system rattled underneath, and an abrupt stop at a speed bump when we realized it would rip the pipe right off if we went any further, we arrived at our destination. Dianne scared me when she got out of the car and momentarily couldn't find the key to our weekend home! She looked down and found it on the floorboard of the car! Whew!

It was late and very dark as we tried to gain entry into the house. We quickly realized the key was not going to open the front door. The home was right on the river and I was prepared to walk around the outside of the house around back to look for another entrance. Dianne, who has an extreme fear of snakes forbid me to do so!! So I sat there looking at her thinking somebody's got to do something or we will be SLEEPING with the snakes!! I guess she was realizing the same as she reluctantly watched me head to the back of the house. I did manage to find another entrance and the key fit!! I was in !! It was pitch black inside as I tried to make my way to the front door. I stopped in my tracks in the living room as I encountered a ghost like figure! As it turns out the daylight revealed it to be a hoop dress positioned over a bodice in the middle of the living room floor! Oh My!! The daylight also revealed the hills of red ants that we were protected from during our attempts to get in the house!! I decided later there was definitely a message in all of that just waiting to be unpacked! How God reveals in the light what he protected you from in the darkness.

As the house was in somewhat of disrepair, we spent awhile trying to get one of the toilets functioning. As we were peering over the tank of the toilet watching to see if the water was rising, we burst out laughing at our current circumstances and the events of the evening!! Hmmm, was God trying to give us a first hand lesson in having JOY despite your circumstances!! I don't know but it was evident He was at work revealing His presence to us as He walked us through each of the unexpected events! And it was clear that when you tackle the issues at hand together, the burden is so much lighter and even enjoyable!

We put our sheets on the bed and prepared for a few hours of shut eye! Of course I had a diet coke at our late dinner which kept me up to hear the oscillating fan which sounded like crickets and the snoring of my dear friend in the twin bed next to me(who I teased sounded like the frogs). We awoke to an early alarm so as to have time to get breakfast and get the car to the shop before our conference began! We had a nice breakfst at The Blue Rose Cafe where I indulged in some chocolate chip pancakes! We then found the AAA Car care center (only 3 miles away!) They would shuttle us to the conference for FREE while they worked on the car and return to pick us up!! So we arrived at the conference center just in time to hear our first speaker ...Liz Curtis Higgs. She spoke of God's great love for each of us. She reminded us that he delights in us! That when we look in the mirror each day it is a Ta-Da!! moment as we are looking at God's handiwork! His precious creation! And it is GOOD!!! We then heard Lisa Harper speak truth to us and we joined others in worshiping through song and prayer as we closed out the morn. Right as we were finishing my cell phone buzzed and our car was ready and the shuttle was coming for us. We went and picked up our car. They were able to replace the brackets holding the exhaust system and we were on our way. We headed into downtown Charleston as we had the afternon free! We found the Chaleston Crab House for lunch where we ate bacon wrapped stuffed shrimp and a Mahi Mahi sandwich! Yummy! Oh , almost forgot to menton a bit of excitement...Dianne reached for the butter for the hush puppies...I reached out to hand it to her and knocked over my very full glass of ICED tea right into her lap!!! We were both in shock! We walked around the market area afterwards so she could dry out!! While ambling through the market we heard someone call out her full name. We turned and looked and it was her brother and his wife with their son and daughter in law who were vacationing in Charleston for the weekend! We had no idea!! What a fun surprise! And even funner when we ran into them AGAIN later in the afternoon when they were about to tour the museum of The Alston House and let us join them for a free tour!

Dianne and her brother are actually Alstons and even somehow related to the former owners of the house!! How very cool!! The picture on the wall of the owner in one of the rooms even looks like her dad!! We walked out on to the beautiful porch on the house where the owners would have held elegant parties as well as watch the first gunfire at Fort Sumter across the water. Also on the porch was a juggling board made to simulate the motion of riding a horse. They discovered this motion was good for arthritic pain . We tried it out and yes it came close to the feel of being on a horse but not like the real thing.

For earlier in the afternoon after our market place stroll we went on a historic carriage ride to tour the city. This was my kind of tour. It was quite relaxing and the weather was great with a gentle breeze as we rolled through the streets of Charleston . Dianne was a litte too relaxed as she nodded off at one point. The only problem was she was on the outside of the carriage and about fell out had I not caught her!! So yes, even the lazy carriage ride became an adventure!

Our afternoon was so full, we had only enough time to grab a McDonald's burger before returning to the coliseum for an evening concert. Stephen Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith were performing. I have such admiration for Stephen still boldly proclaiming God's goodness after the heartbreaking loss of his daughter two years ago. And his honesty in sharing his pain .
We heard Michael sing Friends are Friends Forever(an oldie but goodie) and agreed that a lifetime is not too long to live as friends.

We returned to our home away from home and settled in quickly for the night. I guess the crickets and frogs lulled me to sleep as at some point during the night Dianne woke with a start and was standing over me asking if I was OK. She said I was so quiet and was lying on my back..I think she thought I had died in my sleep! Ha!!

The morning brought a trip to the Holiday Inn where we ate breakfast overlooking the city of Charleston. It was a sunny morn and we had a window seat! The breakfast buffet was delicious and we had a 10 dollar coupon her husband had gotten for us off the internet. It was quite a treat!! We then went to hear our last speaker for the weekend , Becky Terabassi. She spoke of the power of daily prayer and reading God's word and discipline in many areas of our lives. She also encouraged us to keep dreaming no matter how old you get.

We took one last drive into downtown Charleston as we had not seen Rainbow Row. It was not so impressive after all the other sights we had seen but we paused for a pic in front of the pretty blue building and its flower box.

Then we headed back to the house where we packed up quickly , cleaned up and got on the road. We headed out of Charleston a different way than when we arrived. This allowed us to stumble upon a shopping center with a McAllister's Deli (which Dianne had been wanting to check out) AND a Starbucks!(which we had gift cards to). We left with Frapaccinos in hand and smiles in our heart! God had blessed us throughout the weekend in little and big ways!! We both had looked forward to the weekend and had great expectations but God had given us MORE than we could have asked or imagined! Yes! He is Good!! And we are blessed!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

This year we had a changing of the guard for Mother's Day. My mother has always hosted us on Mother's day as well as my two grandmothers. My grandmother(Gamma)passed away before Thanksgiving last year, so this year for Mother's day , I hosted my parents as well as my grandmother(Granny) and my sister and her family for a Mother's Day lunch! We had a delightful afternoon. The morning was a bit chaotic as we were scurrying around trying to do last minute cleaning before getting ready to go to our early service at church so we could get home and prepare lunch for everyone. It never is an easy feat to get our whole crew out the door in a timely manner! But we regrouped and pulled off a nice lunch and afternoon. We grilled tilapia with mango salsa and mashed potatoes and my sister brought an apple walnut salad , corn pudding and an ice cream pie for dessert! Yummy!!!

We watched as the little ones dressed up like princesses.....

And managed to con the big ones to smile for the camera too.........

Granny and Paw-Paw(my dad)

My mother and her girls

Mimi and her brood

Me and my blessings!

And as full as my heart was with my precious children surrounding me, there was no mistaking the longing in my heart to have this little one home and in my arms......
Happy Mother's Day!!