Friday, April 29, 2011

She's Now a Princess

It seems like it was just yesterday that she was a commoner,

walking right alongside her own people.



But today, she is a princess. Loved and endeared by all.





She enjoys her "royal breakfast..."





And sits across the table from a prince.





The pomp and circumstance has had so many observers, near and far!

They melt at the sight of her.



She loves playing the role of the princess.





Wait...it that someone stealing the crown jewels?





Later, the prince changed into more comfortable attire for the celebration.





As did the princess.

Oh, if all could live a life full of love and comfort!

We just love our princess.







Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Very Soon!!

This little princess...


plus this big friend...


is going to equal a whole lot of fun very soon!


Laura's Make-A-Wish trip will be here in just over a week.

She will have time each day, for 5 days, in the water with the dolphins, and then

off to therapeutic classes.


Of course, the entire family gets to go and enjoy the sunshine, but

we can't wait to see all this trip has for her!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Father/Son Trip

Last year, Jamie and I talked about how fun it would be for him to take a father/son or father/daughter trip each year with one of the kids. Dads are just so important in the lives of their children, and because the demands of being the dad/husband/provider, etc., can take so much time, we thought a special time for each child would be great.


So this year it began, and since Jacob is the oldest, he got to go on a trip with his dad first. Jamie let Jacob choose (within reason) where he wanted to go. Jacob sat down with atlases and travel books, and decided that California was the place. Jacob LOVES nature, especially trees...old, huge trees...in particular, the Sequoias, Redwoods, and Bristlecone Pines. In fact, his plans right now are to be a forest ranger. But he's only 11...that could change!


They took off last Wednesday and flew to L.A., drove up to Mammoth Mountain, were near the desert, in the mountains...lots and lots of nature. When I talked to Jacob on the phone, he couldn't tell me enough about the "beautiful landscape and scenery."


He finally made it to Sequoia National Park!


Exploring trees in a whole new way!

Jacob was so excited to see "General Sherman," the largest tree in the world.


Look at the size of this thing!


And this! It's huge! That could make one large table for a growing family...just sayin'...


He was amazed at the amount of snow, too.


My tree hugger...kind of...he does like to cut them down.


They stopped by a fruit stand and the guy working picked them a fresh bag of tangerines. They said the smell was amazing and it wasn't even peak season.


Ah, they made it to another landmark, only to find that is was closed due to too much snow covering the roadways. I don't see snow...must have been further up the mountain.



This is a photo Jacob took...he took A LOT of tree photos...A LOT!



And...they took a day to ski on Mammoth Mountain. They even attended a church service at the top of a mountain that lasted about 1/2 hour! Cool way to celebrate Palm Sunday!


The scenery is beautiful and not what I picture CA looking like at all.


Back to the trees...look how huge they are compared to the vans!


More beautiful nature


They had such a great trip and Jacob had the biggest grin on his face when he got home. Can't underestimate the power of "guy time."

Amarin has already decided where he wants to go next year...Legoland. He loves to build and play with Legos, so we'll see what next year holds for him. Charlie is planning, too, but I think he has a little time to think on his destination.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Finding the Joy

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks;

for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.


Paul wrote these words to believers in Thessalonica, and believers everywhere.

Obviously, they are for us today, as is the entire Word of God (the Bible).


I've heard and read these words from Paul so many times that I start to take them for granted.

Oh, yeah...I've heard those verses so many times. Great, aren't they?

Sure...until I have to apply them to my life.


See, there aren't any subsequent verses that say...unless you have a really rough day. Or, unless someone really offends you. Or, unless you just don't think you're in the mood.


Nope. I'm supposed to find joy and give thanks ALWAYS.


That said, last week was tough, and circumstances are not quite resolved. But here I go, reminding myself that joy and thankfulness lurk within these circumstances...even if I have to go digging.


*I'm thankful my husband will come home tonight after being gone on a father/son vacation (during this crazy time) to support us all. I'm blessed to have him.

*Thankful for nurses that are gentle, quick, and compassionate while doing invasive procedures on sweet little Laura.

*Thankful that I live in a country where medical care is minutes away...not days, and that medicine in sitting on my shelves, just in case.

*Humbled when I think of the approximately 26,000 children that will die today (& each day) because they do not have proper medical care. Ouch...that one hurt.

*Thankful Laura is eating, drinking, and sleeping again.

*Thankful for children who were patient and quiet during medical exams.

*Thankful for friends and family that check in to see how we're doing.

*Thankful for friends that insist we call them first for help.

*Thankful for young ladies that grab hold of my little Laura to snuggle during church.

*Thankful the kids were all healthy enough to watch Amarin's theatrical debut in a church musical.

*Joyful for Amarin as he bravely said his lines on stage without the security of his big brother by his side.

*Happy to hear the laughter from 3 of my kids playing nicely together.

*Joyful as I watch the (abominable) snow melting on the roads and not sticking.


When I stop and think about it, I have way too much to be thankful and joyful for to be complaining. Oh, yeah. Paul touched on that subject, too, didn't he?


Philippians 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or complaining.


Guess I'd better work on a change of heart.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Charlie Quote

We're driving in the van today...Laura, Jenna, Charlie, and me.

Charlie and Jenna are singing to the music on the radio, and sharing a book on Easter.

Then Charlie says, "Mom. Will you turn off the radio because I want to sing a song."

So, I turn it off, expecting to hear a Charlie rendition of a Bible song.

Well, he kind of sang one...it went like this...(insert your own tune).


Char: Jesus has horns on his head...

Me: What? What does Jesus have on his head? (I'm a little nervous here. He's not mixing up characters, is he?)

Char: Jesus has horns on his head.

Me: Jesus does NOT have horns on his head.

Char: Yes he does. Remember the soldiers put those horns on his head?


Me: (now in stitches) Not horns...THORNS!

I'm relieved...and still laughing!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Making Memories

Our days in a few snapshots.

Here we have my "brave" boys killing a poor, helpless spider...with their swordsThen it was my job to pick it up and flush it. Thank you for the fearless protection!

These two crack me up...and are usually under close surveillance. My two peas-in-a-pod!

Remember that "brave" boy in the above photo, taking on the spider? Well, here he is taking on the job of cleaning the rabbit cages...and all that has dropped below them over the LONG winter. Yes...he is donning protective eyewear, a full mask, gloves, winter boots, and came asking if I had any dr. masks to cover his nose and mouth. Buddy, you make me laugh...mostly because you're serious about this "costume!" Charlie hit another milestone...no more training wheels on his bike! We tried once on the grass and he took off like lightening...which happens to be true speed for this child. Turning is a little tough, as is the take-off, but he's doing great and loves being like his big brothers. This little gem wanted in on the action...no bike yet...but a darling helmet! With a face like this, Daddy should be arriving home with a girly bike very soon.
The first icecream cones of the year!


One of Jenna's favorite activities outside...the sandbox!

Even better is when mommy tells you it's OK to take off your shoes and socks to play...great news for a little one that never keeps socks on her feet anyway.

Sweet Laura is sick again. As always, the dr. says it's a virus that can last from a week to 10 days...high temps, not eating, and very clingy and whiney. Poor thing...times like this I wish she had words to tell me what hurt.


A Birthday Weekend

Birthdays were being celebrated all weekend long...lots of fun!

My Jacob turned 11 on the 11th of April, 2011. He thought that we pretty cool.

Sat. afternoon we had family over for a pizza/birthday party.

A double light saber from his siblings.

Star Wars...is there anything else?

The weather was decent so the kids could play outside.

Jenna loves playing outside with her older cousin, "Colie."

And boy oh boy, can this girl sing Happy Birthday!

She was leading the song for all of us!

Look at that face! He couldn't believe he missed one candle!

I'll get you...
Sunday was absolutely beautiful...sunny and close to 80 degrees!

We have him his "big" birthday present a day early.

A new bike!


And that made for two happy boys, because Amarin just got upgraded to Jacob's "old" bike.


Charlie's feeling pretty good about life.


Sunday was actually my birthday. I couldn't have asked for better weather to spend outside with my family. I loved Laura's pose for the camera.


Part of my present was these yummy eggs...think I'll have to share. Look at Charlie's longing eyes!


So, finally we made it to Monday...Jacob's real birthday. For his birthday dinner, he requested homemade mac & cheese, and frozen peas.

Yes...frozen peas. As in not warmed up at all...but straight from the freezer into his mouth...cold and crunchy. Weird!

Monday night he took a few buddies bowling. They had a great time. He said it was the best kids' party he'd ever had!


Happy 11th birthday, sweet boy. You're growing up so fast!

Monday, April 4, 2011

WANTED: BOOKS

What do you think of when you think of a missionary?


I immediately think of someone, or some family, out in some tribal village or remote town, living on the bare minimum, trying to reach locals in a language that is not their native tongue.


We have friends that are missionaries in Cambodia and Thailand, and that description is not far from the truth. We also have acquaintances that "teach English" in restricted countries, if you know what I mean. I have so much respect for all of them. They have left the comforts of this western lifestyle, all to reach others with the gospel so they, too, can have a hope and future in heaven.


The Bible has many verses instructing us to tell others about Jesus. That makes us all missionaries of some kind, doesn't it? But we're not all called to do the same work, or head out to a foreign land. Some of us are called to do God's work right in our own neighborhoods, families, and towns.


That's where our family is right now. We can't travel overseas to do missionary work (can you imagine the chaos we'd probably cause with 5 little ones?), so we are partnering for the second time with Christian Resources International for a Bare Your Bookshelf Campaign. A couple of years ago, we visited their facility. We assisted in boxing books, making bookmarks, and even prayed over and watched them load a 40 foot ocean container FULL of Christian materials being sent to the Netherlands. They ship ocean containers worldwide to areas in need...places where even pastors don't have Bibles, let alone their members. How many Bibles do you own? Places that have never heard the gospel...how many times have you heard it? They also ship Christian homeschool materials, fiction and nonfiction books, Sunday school materials, gently used crayons, and more that you can read about HERE.


Do you have materials sitting on your shelf that you're no longer using? Maybe your children are grown and don't need their picture Bible anymore. Maybe you have several Bibles that you don't use all that much, that a pastor could use who has never owned one! Maybe your children have an endless supply of crayons...you know you can easily pick up more in a pinch! What about gently used Bible story coloring books? Do you always refer back to all of your Bible study books, or could you envision someone who barely knows the Bible benefiting from it? Because frankly in this country...we can push a couple of buttons on our computer and order another one in a matter of minutes, and for not much money.


If you find that you have materials, why not consider sending them to CRI? And if you live close by, get them to me, and our family will do another road trip.


You and your family may not be called to live as overseas missionaries, but we're all called to share Jesus. Now off you go to your bookshelves and boxes!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Book Winner!

Jacob drew a name for me, and the winner of Praying Through Your Adoption is Amy!

I'll get the book to you!! Thank you, everyone, for commenting via my blog and Michele's blog.