Sunday, June 29, 2008

Happy Anniversary~~Mission Trip

  Please pray for James and our oldest daughter, Ashley, as they leave on Tuesday for Guatemala for 10 days.  The first 3 days, they will be staying with our friends.  If you remember, I mentioned back in the winter that Ashley's closest friend (next to her sister)moved back there with her family.  This is the family, and they will spend 3 days hanging out and sightseeing.  On Friday afternoon the rest of the mission team will join them.  They will spend one night in Antigua, then move up north to the Mocuhan and Purula area again.  James will be doing building projects, and Ashley is the co-coordinator for the VBS for 250+ village children.  She was able to write 1/2 of the lesson this year, plus coordinate the craft projects, in charge of collections and ordering items for their goody bags, etc.  If the timing works out, she will also be able to spend one day assisting at the women's conference this year.  She and 2 other girls will be sharing one of their praise dance numbers again this year to Shout to the Lord.  (It's amazingly difficult to dance in Spanish!  LOL.  They're used to the English words, and they really have to concentrate on their movements when the words are different.)  The team will also be attending and, I believe, preaching at several services.  Please pray for their safety, God's blessings, the Guatemalan people would be reached and encouraged, good health, and that most of all, God would be glorified. 
Today, James and I celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary.
June 29, 1985

May 2008


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer Classes, Work Update, and Prayer Request

First of all, a big thank you and hug to all of those who left me birthday wishes.  (And a hug to those who didn't, too!)  If you didn't know about it, don't think you missed something.  One of my daughters was sweet to go down my friends' list leaving you guys a message to come wish me a happy birthday.  She ran out of time, though, so didn't make it to everyone. 
I had a great day, shared with Father's Day.  After church, we went out to eat, came home and rested a short while, opened sweet gifts, sat around talking, and after I talked on the phone to my mom for a while, we all went out and played badminton.  Funny.  Ashley had requested we buy a set, because every summer when she goes over to my parents' house they play there.  She says she loves playing even though she's no good at it!  : )  Those older two just have too much ballerina in them.  I tease them that they look like they're doing ballet while they're trying to hit.   They're getting better, though.  We've already gotten our money's worth out of that set.  Even I played 3 or 4 times last week.  One evening James and I went out and played by ourselves!  Of course the younger 2 love it, also, and they have these oversized raquets, so they can whop it.
I'm not sure what we were thinking when we did this, but earlier this year we signed Marissa up for classes 2 weeks in a row~40 min away.  So, she's had a busy June, which is not ending soon.  They got in from the week at their grandparents' on Sunday afternoon, and Monday she started basket weaving classes for 4 days.  I think she slept through the first 2 days, but she made 2 really cute baskets that week.  Today she is finishing up 4 days of painting class.  James insisted on taking her over there everyday, and at first I felt bad about him doing that running every day.  But, he has really enjoyed it, because he spent the time hiking every morning (class is 9-11:30).  He's gotten to work on his photography and has really logged some miles in 8 days.  Today Daniella went with him to hike. 
Sunday night our VBS starts, so Marissa will be going straight into another long week.  She gets 3 days of rest before they're headed back to their grandparents' house for a week! 
I don't know if any of you have thought of it, but I thought I would give an update on our work situation.  James is still not working.  With the exception of one small job that we lost money on, he hasn't worked since Sept.  I don't remember if I said this in my last post about work, but God told James that he is finished building.  He's okay with that, but honestly, we have no idea of what is next.  We do know God doesn't want him running out to get a job just to have a job to fill time.  This has been an amazing few months of the Lord speaking (and not speaking), rest (which James desperately needed), waiting in peace (which we've never been good at until this situation), and God's provision~~He has provided for us abundantly; it has been absolutely amazing to us.  No, we are not independently wealthy : )  .  We normally live pretty much paycheck to paycheck like everyone else.  God has provided....again I say abundantly!!!  James' time with the Lord has been so much deeper, longer, searching, hearing because he hasn't had work and the stress to pull at him.  A few weeks ago, the Lord led me by the hand to a chapter.  He put this in my heart to read, and as I went over, I had no idea which "story" I was turning to.  The account is of Elijah and the drought.   Although it's all important, here are some of the key verses that leapt out and continue to minister to me.
1 Kings 17:1-4; 7-10
....."As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years except by my word."  The word of the Lord came to him, saying, "Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan.  It shall be that you will drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there."
It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.  Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "Arise, go to Zarephath.....behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you."
This still gives me shivers.  Good ones.  That is exactly where we are.  God has brought James to hide (in Him) by the brook (the Living Waters).  He is providing for us there, physically and spiritually, as in obedience we wait for His direction.  Just so no one wonders, no, we are not living off of people at our church or in our family.  No one is bringing us groceries every week or paying our bills.  God worked in someone's heart.....someone who didn't even know our situation.  Will this "dry up" as the brook did, and God will move us to a new provision?  Will it last 3 years as Elijah's drought did?  We don't know.  But God promises rain.  And continued care until the rain comes.  I don't know if it will always be as "easy" as it is right now, or if this is a calm before a storm.  However, we are enjoying every minute of God's provision and nurture right now.  As I said it's been so great for James to have this time of rest and refreshment, but the little girls and I, especially, have loved having him home more.  In fact, we've gotten so used to it, that I kind of dread the day when it's time for him to move to God's new plan!  : ) 
Please pray 2 things for us: 
1.  One of James' houses still has not sold with the market being so bad.  His houses normally sell before they are finished, but this one has been done for almost 9 months.  Without him asking, the bank extended the interest rate and construction loan (which means we don't have to make monthly payments) for another year.  That will run out in Feb.  By that time, we will also be losing money on the house.  We will rent it if we have to, but the market here is also flooded with those, and it would be a pricey rental.
2.  That we would continue to know God's voice in this.  Right now, neither of us can fathom what God is going to call James to do when this time is over.  He has been building for about 15 years.  Before that he was in real estate and owned a chalet rental business.  Neither of those seem desireable or best.  His college training was for an accountant.  He hated that, and that training was a lonnnnng time ago.  : )  I have a feeling it's going to be something very surprising to us all. 
I didn't intend for this to be so long.  Thanks for your prayers.  I hope God's work in our lives is somehow an encouragement for someone who reads this.

Monday, June 9, 2008


 James and I are back from our Charleston trip, and we had a GREAT time.  I do think, though, that South Carolina has to be the most humid place on earth!  I grew up in Mississippi....maybe I've just forgotten what it's like.  In spite of the high 90's and the humidity, we had a lot of fun.
  On Wednesday, drove over to Sullivan's Island, walked out to the Atlantic for a few mintues, and drove to Isle of Palms (only about 20 min. from the hotel). 
Lighthouse at Sullivan's Island

We decided to drive over to Georgetown, which is one of the places we thought about staying.  That took longer than we wanted, but we were glad we hadn't stayed there.  It's a quaint little place to walk through~once.  We walked down the pier at the marina.

Hmmm... that sign was a surprise.  We never found any, though.
Our hotel sat on the harbor, which I guess is actually the Cooper River.  We could see historic Charleston across the way.  At the far right of the picture, to the right of the tikki hut, is where we sat at night watching the lights of the boats and listening to the waves lap against the rocks. 

view toward Charleston from the hotel pier

Fort Sumter, with a telephoto, from the pier

Sailboats at the hotel marina.  You can just barely see the crescent moon in the center of the picture.

To put the size of this ship in perspective~~all of those "little" boxes stacked on there are train cars.  That's our hotel back behind the ship.

Right next to the hotel marina was this.

The Yorktown is an aircraft carrier.  There was also a destoyer, submarine, and Coastguard cutter.
The bridge to take us over to Charleston

The 2nd day we spent walking Charleston.  Our first stop was shopping at the market.  This is 3 or 4 long buildings that were originally slave markets before the war. 

The gate of this church

Many of the houses are like this.  The little driveways and gardens between the houses are just as fascinating as the houses.

Most of the other houses look like this.  That door is not actually the front door to the house.  It opens up to a huge porch just like the one on the 2nd floor. 

There are a few cobblestone streets and a few brick ones.

We eventually made our way to Battery Park~beautiful, shady, peaceful, blissfully windy.  It is where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers meet and run into the Atlantic.

   The last day we did very little~slept late, lazed around and read, sat on the swing out on the hotel beach and watched the boats, drove to the islands to find lunch, came back and took a nap.  That evening we went to Shem Creek, which is a marina with restaurants lining both sides.  It was so neat.  Amazingly, on a Friday night we got a waterview table without a reservation.

The 2nd roof line on the right is where we ate.  We watched the pelicans and sea gulls have a ball.  We also watched 3 dolphin play throughout the time we were there. 

Am I the only one who literally cries every time they leave the water?
Thanks for sharing our trip.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Invasion of the Cicadas

I think our biggest Hi-Light this week would have to be the Invasion of the Cicadas!  I mentioned them a couple of posts ago~how we could hear them singing, but they've taken it to a new level this week.  We live in the woods, and they have taken up residence in our trees.  They start getting revved up mid-morning, and we can hear a distant whining sound.  As the morning progresses, they start swarming everywhere and get louder.  By early afternoon, it is literally ear-piercing to be outside.  My mom asked if we could hear them in the house~~oh, definitely.  In fact, James could hear them over the lawn mower he was pushing!  They swarm and stay loud until about dusk or a little after. 

(This is not the hand of one of my family members!  Yuck!)
Once we transferred this video, you can't really see them flying, but you can hear them "sing.
These are the 17 year cicadas, and they stretch from Maine down through Appalachia.  They "sing", mate, lay eggs under ground, and die.  The babies will stay underground until the next cycle, then crawl out.  They will probably be here about 2 months total.  We have holes all over our yard where they have come out (shiver).  These are not to be confused with the 13 year cicadas, which are from the appalachia area west.  Aren't we lucky?   We get both of them.
Marissa and Daniella have chased them, caught them in butterfly nets, and delight in feeding them to the dogs.  James read that they are harmless to the dogs, and we'll hope so, because the dogs love them.  Ashley's dog chases them, and she'll only eat the live ones.  Eww.  It's disgusting to listen to her crunch them.  The Yorkie isn't  picky.  He'll eat them dead or alive. 
The girls also saw one squirming out of his shell and unfolding and drying his wings.  They are swarming so much the last few days that the girls are not going out much right now.  As much as they delighted in catching them, they do not delight in having them land on them.
But, ahh, what a learning experience.  :  )
Who is counting down the time until her trip!