Monday, September 14, 2009

Emerald Isle

Yes, our family is starting to grow fins. But what does one do when our friends invite us to their beach house in Emerald Isle? You go of course! We had a great time with the Barlows! The Moms and the Dads talked the day away while the kids had such a great time playing together.
Yes, there is a story to be told of Reece "floating out to sea" and Karen swimming out to rescue him. The goal is always to come home with 3 kids. :)

Boogie boarding, dolphin sightings, fish jumping in the all happened on this trip.

This was a first for the summer - flying kites at the beach. SO much fun!

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Go home and hug your kids"

Most all of us know exactly where we were on 9/11 eight years ago. There's another date that I know Brian and I will never forget. It was 9/12/2002 - a day after the year anniversary of 9/11.

Brian had come home for the afternoon and we were wrestling with Austin on our bed and one year old Lindsey. The phone rings and it is one of the music secretaries from church. Quickly I sense that something is terribly wrong. When Brian gets off the phone, I seek an immediate answer but it takes him a little while to form words. He told me that our friend's 8 year old daughter-Alyssa- had just collapsed and died at Akron Children's Hospital. She had been having flu-like symptoms and the doctor had said she might be dehydrated and they could if they wanted to - take her to the hospital. Within minutes of entering the hospital and saying to her mom, "I don't feel well." She died. (Much later they found out she had a rare heart disease.)

Mary, who was a church music assistant and worked with Brian, was the grandmother and her daughter (Alyssa's Mom) sang on the Worship Team. Brian not only knew them from work and worship team, but we also spent many Memorial Days, Labor Days, New Year's Eves together with this family.

Brian hurried off to the hospital to be with the family. No one can fully understand such a depth of loss if one hasn't before lost a child. There were no words to offer. Brian remembers Sarah (the girls mom) asking for her daughter's clothes and when they handed them to her in a bag, she took them out and just sobbed into the clothes. Brian also remembers Sarah calling her school, where she worked part time, and leaving a message that she didn't know when she would be back to work as her daughter had just died. He remembers hugging Mary in the private room they all were given. So many things and details that are forever in one's mind.

The memory that still gets to me to this day is when Brian was leaving the hospital and Alyssa's Dad looks at Brian and says: "Go home and hug your kids."

"Go home and hug your kids" Don't ever forget how precious our children are to us.

At Alyssa's funeral the Pastor shared a school paper of Alyssa's. She wrote on how the Lord had died for her sins and how she knew Jesus as her Savior. She wrote that just a few days before her death. What a blessing for her family to have that paper.

Brian and I have a little girl who turned 8 years old this past summer. The same age Alyssa was. Eight precious years for us to care for Lindsey. I call her my angel sent from heaven. As I was typing this, Lindsey asked if I could tuck her in. Leaving this post for a moment I go and tuck her in and tell her that she has made my life SO wonderful and how much I love her. She hears this ALL the time so she doesn't sense the "extra" sentiment that I feel as I think back on Alyssa.

I have grand plans for when I'm in Heaven, outside of the obvious hundreds of thousands of years of sitting at the Lord's feet worshiping him, talking another thousand years with C.S. Lewis, I've recently been reading in Acts and have a new found desire to fit in some time with Paul and Barnabas ----well.....I can promise you there will be some Dutch Blitz cards waiting with my name and Alyssa's on it as she royally creamed me in that game as we were awaiting the NYC apple to fall and bring in the year 2000. That little girl owes me a chance to win. :)

Tomorrow I've pretty much filled up my day from morning til night, but I know my heart will be back in Ohio praying for my friends as they will always grieve this side of Heaven and I will never forget to cherish Austin, Lindsey, and Reece as the precious gifts they are and thanking the Lord that He gave them on loan to me to love and raise for the time we have.

Hug your kids! Hug your kids!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Did you hear that???

You know.....that quiet voice, inside your head, that is saying: "Hey, it's Labor Day Weekend. Don't do house work. Don't do yard work. Go to the beach." We listened to it - did you? :)

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

God's Provision and Protection..

Today, after church and a family visit to the Y, we came home and I rushed just down the street to our local CVS. Despite my disheveled look from my workout, I really wanted to get something that was on sale for $6 off. Love Labor Day Weekend sales.

I left CVS so excited over my 'deal' when a man, sitting in his car, spoke up to me and asked if I knew anyone that needed any work done. How he would work for food as he hadn't eaten all day. (It was 5p.m. by then.). He was living in his car and having a hard, at the end of his rope, kind of a weekend. I asked him if he had reached out to any local churches. He mentioned a church, that my children go to for Hand Bell Choir, and told me the location and their 3 month work recruitment along with their food/supply pantry. I am actually friends with the lady in charge of this ministry so I knew his information was true.

He kept mentioning working for food or money and I offered to get him something to eat inside of CVS. I asked him what he would like and he just asked for a candy bar to get some sugar in him and to make it til the church offices were open on Tuesday. So...I went back into CVS and quickly scanned the isles to find something to get him to Tuesday. I ended up with a loaf of bread, jar of peanut butter, silverware and some juice. After ringing this purchase up, the cashier pulls out a basket of -what else - candy bars and says that they are handing these out for free. The man SO gratefully takes the food and I told him to please take care of himself, get to the church for their work program on Tuesday and that I'd be praying for him. I calmly left him and started to drive home. Driving home it just all hit me all this man was going through and I just cried all the way home. Poor Brian said, "My goodness, you just went to the store, what on earth happened??"

A couple of things I've concluded. God's protection. I fully realize that one must always be careful as this isn't a very safe world. I guess I could have been on the 11 o'clock news. God clearly gave him the right words to put me at ease that he IS looking for help from a church and shared facts that only he would know if he had been to this church.

God's provision is another thing. As much as I wanted to save those $6 - God had something else in mind. He teaches me over and over that my money IS NOT mine and never was. It is His money to do with as He pleases. Brian and I had a good laugh when I told him that I not only didn't save the $6, but I spent $10 more than planned.

Also....5 min. before my second checkout the cashier had NOT been giving out candy bars when I first went through the line. The guy had asked for a candy bar and the Lord saw fit to make sure he had one. Another way the Lord showed me His hand in this situation.

I often frequent this one blog where a lady uses coupons and she gets many free things on double coupon or triple coupon days. She takes all of those free items to her local homeless shelter and her church's pantry. When I read her posts all I can think is: 'those are eternal coupons'. I was trying, today, to save money for my own selfish means, but God showed me His own plans today were FAR different than what I had planned.

I will never forget this man today and I will pray for him to find work. Today was a reminder that this world is NOT our home and how much more I should be preparing for my eternal home.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Durham Bulls

Last weekend Brian's buddy, Doug, treated the kids and Brian to a Durham Bulls game. The stadium was full, the entertainment fun, and the ball park even better. Oh yeah - the game - well when they all finally left the Bulls were losing, but it was after 11p.m. when they got home as it was. Brian did find out that the game went until the 14th inning with the Bulls finally winning. Thanks Doug!
Austin and Lindsey were in charge of taking pictures. (Brian and Doug were busy catching up I guess.) Austin took the bull picture because of what it says. In the grass it says "Hit grass, win salad." Up by the bull it says: "Hit bull, win steak."
They had a gorgeous evening for a ball game.
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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A Glimpse into our day...

It's not really that it's been an 'unusual' day around here, but it was fun to capture some moments I might not have thought to "document".
This morning I was downstairs working with Austin on a few subjects. When I got him 'underway' I went up to get Lindsey. Well...Lindsey had decided to make Reece "breakfast in bed." Yes, it was already 8:30a.m. but I warn Austin and Lindsey NOT to wake Reece up as he is not a morning person. Clearly you can see that by his expression.
We spent part of our afternoon at the N. C. Museum of Art. I was rushed to fit that in this week because starting Monday they are closed until April when they will be relocated into a new facility. Anyway....the kid's favorite part was the revolving door. Big surprise..
I didn't realize how close we were to Brian's work, so we surprised Brian at his office. The kids LOVE going there, but it is a Wednesday which means a huge 'to do list' before rehearsal tonight. I just wanted Brian to give me a simple 'pleasant' expression and this is what I got. :)
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