Monday, June 30, 2008

More summer fun

How is your summer going? I hope you are able to stop and enjoy some relaxing, lazy days this summer! We are doing a little bit of that, but we are also keeping fairly busy with various activities, working on the house, hiking, learning to bike and various other activities that fill our days.

Last Monday, we had some friends from PA visiting. We had a wondeful time together, enjoying getting caught up. Our kids were thrilled to see their "buddies". Our friends were so sweet to bring us treats from the north - my favorite being the Turkey Hill Lemonade! YUM - best ever! We also had shoo-fly pie, whoopie pies, scrapple (for John), and they also brought special little treats for the kids. It is great to have visitors! If you talk with them before I do ... the hike wasn't that bad :) We had really intended on it being just a short hike ... really!

We wrapped up the summer reading program at the library. Both kids did a great job reading books - we were very proud of them. Savannah also got 2nd place in her age range and earned a cute t-shirt (she is wearing it in the picture below).

Lilly ... oh, the Lillers as I like to call her. Yesterday morning, before church, she came in looking like this - it is kind of hard to see in the picture, but her whole nose was swelled up. So much so that she couldn't lay her poor little head down or bark! She looked really funny, so of course I wanted to take a picture. John suggested that I give her the Benadryl before taking her picture :) I did. She is fine today - ready to go for a walk first thing and letting everyone know it. We aren't exactly sure what bit her, but there was a single little hole on the top of her nose.

Update on the house progress - it goes pretty slowly with just the four of us and the heat. But, we are making progress. We have the footer dug finally - we hit some mean rocks in the front part of the house which gave us trouble, but we managed to chip them out.

Right now, we are working on the forms for the footer. We have probably about 1/2 the distance finished, but are hoping that we did the hardest part first and the rest shouldn't take as long. Lord willing, we will pour footer this week. Here's a picture of the house site.

We have also been thoroughly enjoying the sunsets. Each night, the Lord displays His splendor through the beauty of a sunset. We stand in awe in the uniqueness of each one. A couple of weeks ago, we were able to witness an incredible thunder head cloud from a distance - it was awesome to watch the lightning over and over again in this enormous cloud.

We are also looking forward to our upcoming Staff meeting in Atmore. We are planning on going for the weekend and enjoying some Florida beach time. Now, there's that relaxing that I'm talkin' about!!

Blessings in your journey!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Just too good to miss

Thanks for all the comments on my last post - this comment was just too good for anyone to miss. My brother-in-law, Rob, sent this scripture that is so appropriate:

2 Cor 1:8-11 (NIV) We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.

Now, go back and re-read it and meditate on the riches of the truths there. Good stuff! Thanks Rob!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Something's buggin' me ...

Have you heard, maybe even recently, the phrase "God doesn't give us more than we can handle"? Usually, the statement is sincere, caring and sympathetic intending to bring comfort and strength to someone going through a difficult situation. I saw this phrase on a woman's blog today that had endured a hardship and it just bothered me. How many times does the person go away feeling like a failure - because they can't, in fact, "handle it"? Or, perhaps even mad at God, because they feel like He has given them more than they can handle?

Although the sentiment is sincere and sweet - is it Biblical? If it's true, where can I find Scripture to support it?

Did it originate from 1 Corinthians 10:13? No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

In one of Beth Moore's Bible studies, I remember her stating that this verse is talking about temptation and not every difficult circumstance. (side note: I briefly glanced at the original Greek, and from my novice eyes, it seems that it could possible include some types of trials as well, but for this post, that is irrelevant)

Can Christians get to the point where things are more than WE can handle? I think the answer is: YES!!!

But, take heart - can Christians get to the point where things are more than HE can handle? An absolute NO! Praise God, NO!

The difference is in only one tiny little letter - the difference in meaning is HUGE. The truth is, we will have circumstances in life that are way more than we can handle. But meditate on this:

John 16:33"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

especially the part "so that in me you may have peace"... and "I have overcome the world."

I just need to know that in those circumstances where I am way over my head, beyond what I can handle, overwhelmed by the situation ... that I can have peace. IN HIM! Even when I can't handle it, He can.

And, I hope, when you are going through a difficult circumstance, that you know that you can have peace IN HIM. And I think it's okay to feel like you can't handle it - He can!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this - please feel free to leave a comment. If you have a Scripture reference that makes the original phrase valid, I would love to hear that as well. I love God's word and desire to know Him more through it.


Monday, June 16, 2008


John and I have been somewhat frustrated at our lack of ability to get the kids biking without training wheels. We have asked ourselves many times "what are we doing wrong?" Last week, our neighbor boy, J, was up insisting that we bike. He is a very persistent young man and Savannah finally gave in to give it a try.

Last fall, we had taken the training wheels off and tried biking without them, but without success. So - I went through the task of putting the training wheels back on so they would be willing to try biking. Savannah tried first. You see, the training wheels don't go very well in chirt. I suggested that maybe we could just try without the training wheels and see how it goes. She agreed, and with a little help, lots of tips from J, and some determination, she TOOK OFF! Now, she is a biking fool going up and down the road as if she has been biking for years. Crazy!

Oh a side note - I laughed very hard at myself for this one ... I wanted to take a little video with my camera of her "first" bike ride. I did ... but shot the whole video vertically! I didn't even think about it until I went to watch it :) Must tilt head to watch it - I may just have to use it for a Wordless Wednesday for fun.

Hadden - oh, the Hadden. He is our "need-to-know-every-possible-thing-before-trying-it" boy. At first, he didn't even want to bike at all (my thought is because he is also a perfectionist, and J was here). I finally convinced him.
"Honey, can you 'test' out the training wheels for me so that I know if they are in the right spot?"
"Well, how about just taking it for a little spin to make sure they stay that way?"
"Well, how about we put your helmet on, just in case you might like to go a little further?"

Again, the training wheels just don't really work in chirt, but he was determined so I let him have at it. He did eventually get too frustrated, so I convinced him to take them off. He is not quite able to bike on his own, but he is getting closer. I think I pulled a muscle in my sitting muscle and have a pretty sore back from running after him, but I have faith that he will get it soon ...

Here is a picture of J popping a wheelie.

Psalm 74:16-17 The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon. It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Summer fun

We are trying to stay cool this summer and also to enjoy some of the activities available for children in the area. We joined the summer reading program at the local library and it has been a great experience. Hadden is really just at the beginning stages of reading, so I wasn't sure how it would be for him. I was in for a big surprise - Hadden has really taken off reading - praise the Lord! Something sparked in him - maybe the thrill of a competition, I don't know, but he has been very excited about reading. "Mom, what does _ _ _ _ spell?" can be heard fairly often at our home.

Each week, they have a special program. One week was "Tattoo" the llama. Here he is with his owner who told us all kinds of interesting facts about llamas.

Everyone got to pet Tattoo.

Tattoo didn't want to get loaded in, but after some coaxing with a tree branch, he finally hopped in. She loads him in the back of her SUV and he lays down - kind of a funny sight.

This week, we went to a miniature horse farm and learned about miniature horses. They are so stinking cute!

This is Rocket and he is about a year old, but he is pretty much full grown.

I went back to the car for our picnic lunch while the kids hung out at the barn (hee).

We also had a week of VBS at our church. The kids had a lot of fun and we took our neighbor boy, Jesse, with us. To be honest, I was worn out and began questioning the validity of VBS. This area has a ton of churches ... therefore, a ton of VBS's ... almost like a competition somehow. Needless to say, I was very convicted and humbled when Jesse went forward on Wednesday night to ask Jesus into his life. Please pray for Jesse and priase the Lord for his new birthday.

I did have a chance to make some dewberry jam last week - here is a sample. In an attempt to declutter our camper when we moved, I put all of the jar lids into storage. We use the jars as drinking glasses, so I still had jars, but no lids! I ended up putting some jam in a storage container instead of a jar.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Part 3 - Amenities!

Many of you have asked and I can't believe this wasn't my very first post once I got back online!!! Yes! We did bring our washer and dryer from storage and get it hooked up! Hallelujah! It's really funny how quickly laundry doesn't drive me crazy anymore. I no longer have to store it up for the whole week and then do it all in one day. To say it is nice to have them accessible would be a huge understatement!

However, somehow this has exceeded the excitement of the washer and dryer! We decided to bring our fridge/freezer from storage, too! WOW - how nice it is to be able to have a full-sized fridge and freezer again. I told John that now all I need is a "real" oven and I will be all set :) Our camper oven burns the bottom of everything (really - it is the oven!).

We also put up a clothes line and this was my first load of laundry. Very exciting for me, also. I try to use the line as much as possible, but I probably realistically only use it for about half of the clothes. Things are drying really fast right now ... not complaining about the heat, though. Remember, I told you NOT to remind me ... ?

Last Saturday, we decided to put in a garden. We may be kind of late, but we'll see. I had bought the seeds a few weeks ago and the information on the seed packet said that we could still plant in June for our area. Some people have said that the garden might burn up in the heat. In any case, this was realistically the first opportunity we had, so we decided to just go ahead and try it. We planted corn, beans, carrots, basil, canteloupe, and watermelon (for Hadden). Oh - and sunflowers - I almost forgot the sunflowers.

Isaiah 30:18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Part 2 - More discoveries

By far, the most exciting discovery so far is the hummingbird(s)! John saw one last Wednesday morning, so the kids and I went and bought a feeder that very day. We have a faithful little fella who visits and is actually quite brave. He sometimes does a 'buzz-by" first before he decides if it is safe to come for a meal. I have been patiently (somewhat) waiting to capture a picture of him, and this is the best I could do (so far)!

On the opposite end of the excitement spectrum ... we have seen a couple of these - alive this time. John has yet to see one (praise the Lord!), but Savannah spotted this one crawling from under a rock. He then crawled under the log pile ... not real exciting for him to be there, either. The next morning, I went for a hike on our trail and almost stepped on another one just like him. We were hoping the dogs would be a great help for us ... sniffing out the snakes ... giving us good warning ... NOT! Both dogs (actually 4 total, because we have new neighbor doggie friends up here) walked right past/over the snake. I almost stepped on the snake, but saw it in time and quickly backed away. Then, Lilly came back to see what was taking me so long and walked over the snake again. So much for them giving us any warning!

OK - back to some nice discoveries ... I found some blueberry bushes with some very cute blueberries on them. I am hoping that I can find more because Savannah absolutely loves blueberries.

These cool plants are some kind of cactus variety (I'll have to actually take some time and look them up). The flowers are really beautiful - there is a little closer picture below ...

And, we have tons of dewberries. I had never heard of them, but they are very similar to a blackberry. The kids like them and they really enjoy picking them - bonus! I am hoping to make some jam out of them. We don't like the seeds as much, so I am going to try to strain them out - I'll let you know how it goes :)

The kids and I used our strawberry baskets to pick them - glad to get more use out of the baskets :)

Finally ... what happened to our view??? It was so foggy a couple of mornings that we could hardly see past the log pile.

It's amazing to watch how things change and I am sure I will be making lots more discoveries as time goes on. Hopefuly, less of the no-legged critters, however :) Needless to say, I have been walking on a different trail these last few days - at least until I have a chance to take the weed wacker (sp?) along the trail to get rid of the tall grasses!

Hope all is well in your home!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

In need of a spa???

Feeling tired after a long week of work? Are you weary from the heat? Do you just need to have a getaway and relax? Well - we have the perfect solution for you - come to our day spa ... (we will be adding amenities as time allows). You can ...





... relax and soak in a therapeutic mud bath ...









... Next, enjoy a cool, refreshing drink as you soak up some sun ...









... and finally enjoy a beautiful sunset after you have been refreshed!





Be the second to come visit our spa. Please note: Four-legged critters are optional, and will incur additional charges. We are not responsible if they join you. :)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Part 1 - Moving Day

We finally have internet access at our camper!! Very exciting! So much has happened since we moved, that I thought I would update in small chunks, because small chunks of time are easier to find :)

We are thankful for all of your prayers! The Lord made a smooth path for us to travel.

In order to feel somewhat confident that our truck would pull our trailer up our hill, we packed up all of our belongings and hauled them up separately. Here is a picture of our old location with the truck ready to take a trip. We called ourselves the "Clampett's".

Here is a cute little friend who was living under our temporary deck. There was a mother and two little babies - cute as a button.

Pulling away!

The dogs were part of the packing - we took them up to the property first and left them in their crates while we ran back after the trailer. They weren't too sure about being left behind.

After 9 months, home at last! Even though we are still in the camper, it is great to be home.
On a funny note, 7 years ago - also on Memorial Day weekend - we moved ... into this house ...