Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Eat your heart out...

We just arrived home this morning after a 2 week trek west.

Tom really enjoyed teaching in his parents church Kids For Christ camp at the start of our trip. The kids loved hanging out with their French cousins who were also attending camp.

We were able to put together a candelit dinner to celebrate Mom and Dad's 40th anniversary (with 3 of their 4 children and their families present)--thanks to Julie for all her creativity and work to pull this off. The grandkids enjoyed our anniversary present as much as Nana and Gramps--we had the family movies transferred from 8 mm to DVD. What a superb example of marriage and family they are to me and all of us.

On Sunday we participated in Isaac's dedication to the Lord, alongside his little cousin, Preston. It is so special to have Tom's Dad perform this very special service with each of our children. No less moving the fourth time around! Wish you all could have heard Robb sing....

(Watch the video and hear it sung by Mark Harris here

Then it was on to Stanley, Idaho where we camped with Nana and Gramps, Tom's oldest sister and her family. Although it was raining the night we set up camp (a blessing to all the firefighters so it was hard to complain) the next day dawned absolutely beautiful with bright blue skies like only the west can produce. 3 nights camping there was way too short!

One of my favorite memories from the trip was driving to Stanley with Julie and just our two babies (mine was the quiet one!...and my nose is only 6 inches long). We've been friends for so long but with lots of miles and kiddos between us it is hard to stay "caught up." I loved catching up and when we ran out of things to talk we sang along to Rascal Flats (thanks for the intro Jules!) and Martina McBride--fun music, especially when headed camping out west.

We spent a few days alone at Nana and Gramps before heading home via Glacier National Park where just our family camped for 2 more nights. Josiah is our animal enthusiast so he was very excited that we got to see 5 black bears, 3 mountain goats (close enough to touch, many more from a distance), 1 coyote, 1 snake and countless deer, elk and antelope. Cole, our avid map reader, loved trying to figure out which hikes to take and really pleased his Dad by hiking just under 20 miles during our vacation. Josiah wasn't far behind, he finished just 2 miles less (Dad and Cole did one hike solo). Josiah really turned a corner in his trekking abilities on this vacation--his attitude was so positive and he seemed to really enjoy every second of the journey (and of course, Dad's heart swelled). Now, Maddie was a different story, she earned the nickname "backpack" for obvious reasons. Isaac loved riding in his backpack and smiled at every living thing on our jaunts. Except for a crazy sleep schedule (which is a big exception) he was a great traveler.

And now we are home. Somehow the tasks of cleaning, laundry and finishing school supply shopping seem a little less exciting--but on the other hand home is a really sweet place to be and it feels so good to get it organized once again. With that goal in mind we shall keep working at setting things to order...but our hearts are so much fuller for the memories. We are truly blessed to have family that are not just relations, but love us, believe in us and want to share life's journey together. They contribute to our life so richly and leave us longing for the next time...

We are glad we don't have to get back in the "burban" for a while. It's been well broken in on this trip with more than one sick child, and a few shall we call them "restless souls". God Bless the Hendricks richly for loaning us their DVD player!!

It was so nice to come back home to messages from several friends wondering where we were. To those dear friends who have moved this summer--I am starting to realize a place feels like home when your unique, special place in your community is missed when you are not there to fill it. Hope you are finding your "spot" by now but remember to give it time.

Monday, August 6, 2007

courage defined and a prayer request

My good friend Jenny attends our same church and found out a few weeks ago that she has breast cancer. Jenny has a loving husband and a little girl who is just a little over a year old that are all suffering the consequences of this diagnosis. She is absolutely AMAZING in the way she is accepting this news, fighting this disease, and seeking God's glory even in this terrible news. She underwent a radical double mastectomy but found out last week the cancer has spread to her bones. We as a church family prayed with Jenny Sunday that God would heal her of this cancer. Would you please join me in praying for her regularly in your prayer time?

Jenny shared with me this quote that I have found to be incredibly moving.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela

texas weekend

Isaac enjoyed his first airplane ride to Aunt Bebe's last weekend. Thanks so much to Beth for flying us down. It was so nice to get a front row seat into her life. Beth is a great sister but more importantly she is the best friend a girl could ask for. She gets greatly amused by my need to talk when we get together--in other words, I talk nonstop! We enjoyed eating out (Mom, you are right the Albanian-Italian restaurant is a great find!!!) and cooked in, shopped a little (made my first trip to Sam Moon), and tried to catch some rays but believe it or not Texas was cool that weekend and it was always shady when we tried to go swimming. But the talking was great and isn't that what being sisters is really all about??

We didn't take many pictures...and tried to make up for that fact by taking a few goodbye pictures in the airport. So this picture is memorable not for it's content but for the fact we were taking it of ourselves (over and over trying to get all of us in the picture) while getting quite a few funny looks. I'm not sure why we just didn't ask someone to take it.

One of the highlights of the weekend was hearing a guest speaker at her church on Sunday. He spoke on the subject of prayer. He works for the global day of prayer and was challenging the church to pray more. It's amazing to me how much I personally believe in prayer but how little I utilize it. And, I really want to be comfortable breaking into prayer with my friends and family at all times and in all places. How often do I say to someone..."I'll be praying for you"....? Why do I not just pause and pray in that moment? Of course I'm hindered by busy schedule, young children, a busy husband, and keeping up with the endless tasks of the day BUT I think my biggest area of weakness concerning prayer is thinking the perfect moment will come when I can spend deep alone time with God. I can't wait for that perfect time because it will never come...but I do want to seize every second I have to pray more. I finished A.W. Tozer's Pursuit of God over the weekend as well. What a good read and challenge to balance our need to know God intellectually with a greater need to know Him personally and relationally.