Thanks to some wonderful friends, we've been away for the past 10 days. It could have been 2 weeks, but we had to get back a little sooner.
The time away was precious time as a family filled with daily experiences like these...
And wonderful nightly times in God's Word and much time spent in prayer..
The past 3 months have definitely been the hardest our family has ever faced. It has also honestly been the sweetest times as well. I've seen the benefit of stepping away from the computer and spending more time face to face with friends. Since January 3rd I still don't buy Brian lunch groceries as his schedule fills up, quickly, with friends that want to talk. I've cherished the precious time with friends as well. There just aren't adequate words for how much people have carried us during this time.
Well.....we traveled home today and still went to Tae Kwon Do and eased back into it with only 2 hours. I know....crazy.
The fact that my husband blogged this week has prompted my own post. I'd like to just end with a post he made and maybe I'll come back on here to post more pictures at some point.
I truly have to laugh when I said I'd become some 'boring mom'/hermit the month of January. Things can change on a dime. We've actually been out and about more than home this month. We've been blessed with friends who have walked a journey with us this entire month. Some day I'll write down all of that, but for now I'll share just a few pictures from our month.
I really am not joking that I've hardly been at the computer - hence the lack of time on this blog. The time I have spent here has been replying to e-mails. Returning phones calls, replying to e-mails, doing school in the mornings, afternoon field trips, and evenings with friends. Wow! I've actually not even cooked this month - and I'm not complaining at all! :) We've been overwhelmed and blessed beyond measure! Even tonight we'll be spending the evening with precious friends and tomorrow as well.
These aren't the "get together s" where you pull out a camera, but I do have a few pictures that I finally took off of the camera. So....here goes:
Austin's first time 'rock climbing'. Had to post these pictures as this is a HUGE ordeal for our cautious first born. So thankful that he had this opportunity with some great friends! One week we ended up in downtown Raleigh 3 times. Now...that is a big deal for me! This farm girl doesn't enjoy driving downtown, but we had some great reasons to do so. (and thank the Lord for the GPS my sister got us a few years ago) One was when we met a group of friends to tour the George Washington special exhibit that was at the History Museum for a short time. Completely worth it!! A special evening making pizzas at a friend's house. Chris and Scott have spoiled our children over the past few years and this was no exception. Their outside hot tub gave us plenty of time to talk with our friends. The kids were simply in heaven and sure came out looking like raisins. Another downtown trip, with friends, to the Science Museum. This time the girls, little boys, and big boys all had something separate going on. I was able to hang out with Reece's group. The leaders felt like this group would need the most supervision. Yep...very true. I did peek in on "the girl's group". Don't think Lindsey even saw me.. Wish I had my camera at Mike's football party. There were a few gals with the rhythm section men, so some conversation was had. Laughed until we cried with Bob and Patty. That's NOT unusual. I did leave that party saying: "Wow...you men REALLY do watch football when you have a football party." :) Mike had made his awesome chili and it was just a treat to be with so many friends. That was a sweet time that I don't want to forget!!
This next picture was a party at our friends, Jeff and Karen. It was an impromptu party and, like Jeff told me...you expect it hard for people to do "impromptu anything". Well..everyone that was invited came and their house was packed out. SO much fun! It was cold that evening but we still took some of the party outside to try out Karen's new fire pit. I never want to forget the laughter we had watching Brian and Bob go off in their back yard and come back with some big branches. Then Brian would hold onto Bob and jump up and down on the thick branches trying to break them. Jeff comes out and says: "Hey guys, I do have a saw!". I know it's a "you had to be there" kind of a moment, but the laughter was so great!
What a precious month this has been! We know we are here (1) By God's appointment, (2) In HIS keeping, (3) Under HIS training, and (4) For HIS time.
Sundays are a powerful way to start our week around here. Ways that are expected (excellent preaching as always) and future gifts (Steve, our Lifeclass teacher, will be challenging us with the book of James. My FAVORITE book of the Bible!) and a very unexpected, to the heart, meeting each week....having Master Cromwell instruct us in Tae Kwon Do and then sharing what the Lord has laid on his heart.
Pastor Horner gives a New Year's message that I know I'll be mulling over for some time. I hang on to my Life Class teacher's every word as I know the Lord speaks through Steve. And then there is Master Cromwell..
I knew we'd learn Tae Kwon Do from this black belt but little did I know how God would use him in my spiritual walk.
If you looked up his name you'd find that he has several initials behind it: MD, FAHA, FNLA. It also would show that he is a Chief, Division of Atherosclerosis and Lipoprotein Disorders. A Medical Director, an Adjunct Associate Professor and a Diplomate. This is just in the first paragraph. Even though it isn't the case I'd like to add that he should be a preacher of the Word. After 60 min. of patiently working with us on blocks, kicks, and punches this humble gentleman has us sit on the floor for another 30 min. as he shares with us what God has laid on his heart.
Of course with the New Year ahead of us he shared how we all know there will be joys and challenges and that clearly, as followers of Christ, we need to make sure our steps are laid out by the Lord and not our own agenda. At the end he said something (I know you had to be there to get the impact of this statement) that will stick with me for a long time. He said:
Fear CANNOT occupy the same space as Faith.
That was from the Lord and it was for my ears. I read this somewhere and it fits where I want to go for the new year and I want this because I struggle with it:
Yesterday is HISTORY Tomorrow is a MYSTERY Today is a GIFT
I realize more and more that I fret over the past, I worry about tomorrow and therefore I do not enjoy the gift that is today and the fact that the Lord gives me all that I need for each day.
I cannot have Faith and fear. It just doesn't work. Only January 2nd and I know I have SO much to learn this year!
It is also so good to surround yourself with wise counsel, friends, and mentors. Looking at my Sundays with Pastor Horner, Steve, and Master Cromwell... I think I'm starting my weeks out right and -meant in the best of ways - some sleepless Sunday nights mulling over all that I've learned from my mentors. Happy New Year indeed!