Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Weekend Scoop (I Peed My Pants!)

Friday we went shopping at the outlet center and hit some GREAT deals for the ever-growing boys of our flock.  Then, we met up with our friends, Laura and her mom, Carol...and Autumn and Justin and their new baby boy Maddux!  He is so very handsome, and as always, Autumn made me laugh hysterically recounting her birth and family stories!   

At the end of our time, Alex got up to move his chair from where he had held Laura's sweet mother captive with his chatter about who knows what and the whole seat of the chair came off in his hands! 

No joke!

You just have to know this would happen to Alex!  Predicaments like this just have a way of finding my son it seems!
Since I happened to have the camera in hand, I just had to snap the picture!  Isn't this funny?  Trey holding the seat in his hand and pointing at Al like, "It was him Mom, not me!"  Alex, always taking advantage of a shining moment, getting ready to flex his muscles like he accomplished something great.


Saturday morning, Tom's sis, Rebekah invited me out with her to get her hair done.  We had lunch and went by to see their cousin's new baby girl.  Then we decided we would just grab our groceries together...a much more exciting way to grocery shop!  Seriously...grab a gal pal and go ladies!

What started out as a morning at the hair salon turned into not getting home until 3:30!  We still don't know how this happened, BUT, I have the BEST husband in all the land!  He had laundry all over the living room in piles folded and to be folded, had the boys doing chores, and had steaks marinating!  Nope, I'm not even foolin' ya!  All I had to do was clean the kitchen and start preparing the rest of dinner.  How sweet is my guy? 

I hopped up the street to Rebekah's house and had the ABSOLUTE joy of helping my two adorable nieces and their friend get ready for their very first school dance.  Their mommas seemed unaffected by this event, but I was nearly in tears and thrilled to my core that they invited me to share this experience!  They looked beautiful!

I cannot even fathom what their weddings will evoke in my heart.  I have gotten so close to these sweet girls.  I wonder if I would care so much if I did have daughters of my own.  Perhaps I appreciate them...cherish their femininity more because it's not the norm for me?  Hmmm....

After our other sister took the girls to the dance, Rebekah, Rob, Ethan, and Adalee shared our delicious steak dinner with us.  I hit the shower, hoping for a good night of rest before church the next morning.

Well...that didn't happen.  I had this ridiculous dream that merged all the things I had been doing in the recent days.  Tom's dad was in it and was dressed like Christopher Columbus...with powder blue tights, girly boots, a flowy shirt...and he was strutting like a rooster.  He thought he looked good you guys!

In my dream, I grabbed Tom's arm and said, "What is your dad wearing?  The children are laughing at him!"  Except, well, I had literally grabbed him in real life and woke him up!

I was so disoriented trying to wake up when Tom started talking to me!  I was laughing so hard I cannot even explain.  Seriously, I have NEVER laughed so hard EVER, and I am not even kidding friends!

I ran to the bathroom so I wouldn't have an accident, but when I got back in bed and started trying to tell Tom, I got tickled all over again and could not stop laughing!  I thought I was going to hyperventilate or have an asthma attack for real!  My stomach was in spasms!

I knew I needed to get back to the bathroom but then my leg was all wrapped up and stuck in the sheet and yep, I did...I flat peed my pants trying to get outta there ya'll!  


All this in the middle of the night peeps!  It was something.  Now, I am a deep sleeper and after I calmed down, I was right back to sleep.  I don't know if my dear husband got any shut eye at all!  If he had only known what he was saying "I do" to right???

Sunday was a big day for our family too.  Tom's sis, Erin, and her husband were set in as Senior Pastors of the church we have been attending.  Jason's parents founded the church some years ago.  Gregg and Trina were brought in when the family went through some heartache and Jason's parents stepped down.  

For four years, about half the people in the church have driven up to 45 minutes to attend and support this body of believers (us included).  Pastor Gregg and Pastor Jay now feel it is God's time to separate locations.  In March, we will begin having services closer to where we live and be able to more effectively impact our local community.

This is bittersweet for me.  I love all my church family so much.  My flesh wants us all to remain together, but God is enlarging us and that is how it should be.  The easy choice of my flesh would be to stay with my family as my leadership.  Erin was my sister long before I married her brother!  In her leadership, I feel safe.  But, God is still walking me through issues of healing, and I must trust Him.

I don't have enough wonderful words to describe my love for my Pastors, Gregg and Trina.  I may not have the security of natural family with them, but family they have become to me.  God has and will continue to knit our hearts with them and their children.  He knew exactly where Tom and I needed to be...what we needed to learn.

It made no natural sense that Tom and I be at that church, and the way and timing in which it happened stunned many of us.  However, God knows His plans, and He intervenes in perfect timing.  We have thrived and will continue to praise the Lord!

Yesterday I was blessed to spend the day with Erin, and we were afforded the opportunity to talk like sisters.  I am so proud of her!  It's been an honor to watch God's hand on her life...from a pesky adolescent to a rebellious teen to a humbled young woman to a leader of youth to devoted momma to speaking to the nations and now to stepping into senior leadership!

Look what the Lord can do!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Don't Fall Early!

So remember yesterday that I mentioned Trey hitting his head?  

Well, I asked him in the afternoon how exactly he did it.  I was thinking he must have run into the door or wall right?  


He said, "Well see Mom, I usually fall into my bed and that time, when I fell, I fell too early."



"Trey, tell me again.  Are you saying you don't like ever pick your leg up and climb into your bed, but rather you just walk up to it and fall in?"


Thinking to myself how weird boys are, I said, "Well, Trey what did you learn from all this son?"

"Well, I learned to not fall early."

And there you have it.  This is a great example of the conversations that take place in my lil family!  I would love to share with you the one that came next, but for fear of offending some readers and for the sake of saving my sons future embarrassment, I will refrain. (Smile, giggle, snort!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Our Day of Love

Well, the truth be told, my goal is that everyday we strive to truly love in this crib, but we are finding it more difficult to navigate our boys through this "love" walk as their ages and stages clash together!  I know God gave us family to sand down our rough edges!

My homecoming made this Valentine's Day very special for me.  I could not wait to be wrapped in my husband's arms again...to plant dozens of kisses on my boys' cheeks!

The boys missed some school days last week due to their flu bug (well, not Garrison...he got all his work done don't ya know), and as badly as I knew we needed to be doing some real bookwork, I just couldn't do it.  I mean, we did some, but I just wanted to enjoy my family, ya know?  And praise God, that IS the joy and privilege of homeschooling right?

So, we put the books away and had Home Ec!  My hubby's favorite meal is good ole fried chicken and after all the man had done for me, he darn deserved some!  

Here are some pics of Alex and I preparing food, and Trey wanted to take some of us making one of his favorite desserts! I got a sweet card and money for dinner out from my parents...along with a nice piece o' chocolate! Mmmmm  There's also a pic of Garrison with his braces and Alex with his new glasses.  Enjoy!  (I feel certain the boys all grew while I was away too!)  Oh!  And if you look closely you can see the goose egg on Trey's forehead where he fell and hit his bed in the middle of the night!  Yikes!

Oh dear!  I nearly forgot!  My sweet and thoughtful honey got me a Nook!  (If you don't know, that is an electronic reader from Barnes and Noble.)  I have to say...I LOVE IT ALREADY!  It is so convenient to have multiple books in one little handy-dandy device.  I wish I had all our school textbooks on it so I didn't have to tote those around.  AND a little birdie told me that there was a case on the way "from the boys." 

I truly don't deserve the thoughtfulness my love showers me with!  THANKS SO MUCH TOM!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Home Again, Home Again

I made it back home. I still cannot believe how fast those eight days flew by! Of course I am happy to be here with my treasures, but a bigger piece of my heart was captured by Nicaragua this year.  I felt like a torn woman...knowing I needed to be home and fulfill my role here, but with a heavy burden about leaving the people I have come to love so much.

I'm so thankful for a husband who doesn't view his portion of parenting as "babysitting!" He not only held this fort down, but nursed sick kids back to health, accomplished schoolwork, and disinfected everything...including washing all the dirty laundry.  I dare say he did so well that they barely missed momma around here!  Seeing him waiting for me at the airport nearly took my breath away.  I felt like I was falling in love all over again, yet walking back to the other part of myself.

I absolutely have to thank my amazing mom for all her help in this adventure.  One son decided he would just camp at her house for his flu recuperation!  And why not right?  If you can't have your momma, gramma is always the next best nurturer!  No words can express my gratitude for your love for my boys Mom.

I have so much I could say right now...about my husband, my sons, my parents, my peeps I traveled with, and those beautiful Nicaraguan friends I hold dear, but right now I think it best to say this and then get some rest:

My sons~please never allow your comfortable United States lifestyle to crowd out what matters in God's eyes.  Please never get so wrapped up in material possessions that you ignore the plights of humanity outside these borders.  You live in the exception, not the rule.  You don't know lack, but you need to see it.  You need to know it exists so that you can truly see what lack is.  I can't thank you enough for your strength and support in allowing me to go to the children of Nicaragua.  You can be sure you will share in the rewards of what has taken place this past week.  I long to take you to my other family.  I long for you to know the people who ask about you...who pray for YOU!  We think we are the "  blessed"  ones in this world with all our stuff.  How sad we are.  Their lack of stuff opens their hearts to more compassion than we can comprehend...to more faith than we possess I think.  Yes, my boys, do yourselves and your future families a favor and step out of this culture and immerse yourself in another one.  Your dad and I will do all we can to help you do this in your youth, but please remember this when you are leading your adult lives.  There are people all over who need you to come and to do...to give and even to receive from them.  I know you are getting this.  I see your concern and your heartbreak, and I pray you continue to be broken with God's perspective.~Mom

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nica 3 update

This day was so wonderful!  I don't think words can capture how much I loved it!

I was up throughout the night with the stomach junk and had to pull myself outta bed this morning, but I desperately didn't want to miss the children.  I was feeling lots better just really tired.

I got going well though and truly enjoyed every minute of our day! 

I can't explain how much I love working with the medical team.  Carolyn and Maw are so precious to me!  But, being able to use the skills my degree is in is a treat because I found out I was pregnant with Garrison two weeks after I graduated from college and haven't worked away from home since (which I am completely thankful for).  We are off in a room where it is quieter and I really get to talk with the kids...well, as best I can in my Spainglish anyway!

It's amazing to come back and have them recognize you and want to hug you and tell you things.

We had some more fun getting some Nicaraguans to "smell the cake"...that never stops being funny!  :)

Erin, Morgan and I got to pick three students and put the shaving cream on their heads...which I helped turn into a shaving cream fight that the kids loved and not all of our team did, but oh well...it was very entertaining...hahahahah!

So after the kids left, we were standing in the courtyard with shaving cream on us and Morgan and I decided to see if we could trick the translators!  LOL  We started speaking in tongues to each other and told Juan we were speaking in Swedish.  He said, "Your Swedish sounds a lot like my tongues...my prayer language!"  We started laughing and said, "Yes that is what it is!"  He said, "You speak in tongues?  Me too!"  He was so excited.

The other translator, Chico, said, "I want to speak in tongues, but I can not."  I said, "Sure you can.  You want to pray and ask God for that gift?"  He said, "Yes."  I asked him if we could video it and he said sure.  So a few of us, all covered in our shaving cream, laid hands on him and prayed and he received and started speaking it out!  It was amazing to share that with him and Juan.  They are wonderful young men, who love the Lord and love to help bridge the barrier of language!

Let's see...then some of us went into town and got some shopping done, which is always a fun learning experience. 

We made it home in time for Nicaraguan pizza...very delicious!  Then some friends dropped in to say hello!  I didn't meet this family last year, but the husband translated for the team the year before.  I sat with his wife and her cousin at the women's luncheon the other day.  We quickly became friends and when she visited tonight, she brought me two gifts from her cousin!  How sweet is that!

Their son is 13 and daughter is 6, and I fell in love with both of them immediately!  We played and laughed.  You should hear me trying to talk with these people!  It's ridiculous, but I am determined to connect.  I LOVE IT!  They get lots of laughs anyway! 

I adore this culture.  Everyone is so friendly and warm.  They are affectionate and forgiving!  I can't express the joy I feel being here. 

The little girl was getting sleepy and she let me hold her until it was time to leave.  I walked her to the door and waved goodbye.  A few seconds later she ran back in and very shyly, handed me her Daddy's bracelet that says 'Glory to Glory Ministries'...who he works for. 

It was so, so precious.  I will treasure it forever!  I can't believe how God knits our hearts with others when we allow Him.

I can't stop smiling!

And I thank my husband so much for holding things together and celebrating the call God has on my life!  I thank all of you who supported me to be able to come here.  I know you will share in the rewards of what is taking place this week.

Te ama mi amigos!  xoxo

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Nica 2 Update

Yesterday some of the ladies went to climb the volcano.  I almost went at the last minute, but I just didn't feel I should.  When they returned, I definitely knew why I was not supposed to go!  LOL  So evidently, it was as windy as it was last year, but the sliding down part was MUCH faster.  Let's just say a couple of ladies lost their boards and did some "behind" sliding and literally came home with no seat in their shorts!!!  CRACK ME UP! :D  I don't know if you will ever see photos of that floating around, but let me tell ya...they are hilarious!  On a serious note though, one of our darling translators, Carla, actually got her face cut open and our nurses had to butterfly it shut!  Volcano boarding is serious business my friends!  Oh and the funniest part...Erin's face when she walked in looking for me!  Ha!  I DID tell her it was HARD work, but she said I didn't tell her how bad it really was!  Of course I didn't tell her she would feel like she was dying and never gonna make it!  But it was very symbolic for her and spiritual!

After the ladies got back, we went to the beach.  So gorgeous you guys!  Sorry for those of you still in the snow! :D  We enjoyed hanging out together and a delicious meal at a hotel restaurant.  mmmmmm 

All day I fought a headache and by the time we got back, I was in tears.  Our nurses medicated me and I slept soundly, waking up a new woman!  Praise God for that!

Today we saw the first group of children.  These little treasures live at a dump the government gave them.  They are the worst off financially that we see.  The day ran smoothly and it was very sweet to my heart to see how much they have grown.  It's so fun to come back and remember things about them from the previous year!  We are building relationship, and in a country with the mentality that you should quit school and just work, the opportunity to look these children in the eye and tell them we believe in them and want them to stick with it...well, it's just an honor. 

We ended our day with a trip back to the church.  They had a youth service tonight and it rocked!  We white folk were drenched in sweat, but it was so fun dancing with our brothers and sisters in the Lord! 

Tomorrow we see another group of children.  I work with the medical team and that is such a joy for me! 

OH...almost forgot!  Morgan and I had a blast getting the Nicaraguans to "smell the cake" today!  Hee hee!  We all bring a cake mix and frosting because they don't have the kind we have here.  It's quite a treat for them, and we got some of the translators to see what it smelled like and then smashed it in their face!  It was hilarious!!!  They laughed so hard and we said, "Never, ever smell cake in the States!"

Great day!!!

Adios Amigos!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Nicaragua-First Days-2011

We are here and settled in!  Praise God our travel was smooth.  We got out on our original date this year...no detours through San Salvador on a twin-prop plane! 

I have to say after NO SLEEP the night before, flying all day, then a drive in a van to our destination, I was WAY over moving!  Thankfully, our evening was spent relaxing!

Today some of the ladies picked up their sponsored girls and spent some time with them.  The rest of us stayed at the house and bagged gifts for the women of our "home church" here, Rosa de Saron.

We arrived at the church and upon walking in, we saw all these beautiful sisters in the Lord scattered about tables.  We were drawn to mingle and find seats amongst them, trusting God to open the doors of friendship and help us cross any boundaries!

Within about 15 minutes, Jessica and I had exchanged email addresses with a couple ladies at our table and joked about Jessica's hair sticking up like a rooster!  :D  We could barely understand one another, but God has ways of forming relationships that astound us humans.  We just have to step out in faith and believe He will move!

Was it a bit uncomfortable to walk into a room full of people we really don't know and can't communicate easily with?  You betcha!  But, faith is the substance of things HOPED for and NOT YET seen! 

God met us here!

The overwhelming response of our team about the luncheon today was this:  we went there expecting to be a blessing...expecting to minister TO these lovely ladies, but instead felt like we walked away with the greater blessing!  Such is usually the case on a mission trip!

At the end, these ladies were asked by their leader to come up and pray for us, and though not many of us knew what they were saying, the passion and intensity...the genuine sincerity that they prayed over us with, could only be described as something supernatural.  Yes, the Holy Spirit was most certainly there with us. 

When you step your feet on foreign soil...when you come into a strange culture, you cannot help but fight some insecurity, wondering what in the world you could possibly have to offer!  But, what God has laid upon my heart while preparing for this trip is that His grace (His empowerment) is sufficient for us and HIS power is made PERFECT in our weaknesses.

What do we have to fear?  If He calls, He will equip.  If we step out, He shows up.  If we obey, He blesses.

Tomorrow morning (later this morning actually), 7 of our team members will go climb a volcano (I'm passing this time).  This sounds like a fun adventure, and it is for sure.  However, for me last year, the experience went way beyond something in the natural.  God used it to show me that I hold within me what it takes to accomplish big things.  Hard things that feel like they are insurmountable and suffocating!

Our God supplies for ALL our needs.  ALL.

I know each lady here fought battles just to get to Nicaragua.  The enemy tried to come in like a flood against all of us in some way or another.  But greater is HE in us than the evil ones in this world!  We are here.  We will make a difference because with God, ALL things are possible.

Goodnight world

Friday, February 4, 2011

Oh My...Lately...

1:43 in the morning...awake...waiting to be picked up in a couple hours so I can get to the airport by 4.

I have to say that I am VERY ready to get back to Nicaragua where time seems to slow down!

Last week, Garrison got his braces on and let me tell ya, I was NOT prepared for how much pain the child would be in.  If you have an orthodontist tell you that your child may experience some pain, but many patients don't hurt much...just go ahead and prepare yourself for the worst.  I'm not saying expect the worst, but at least mentally prepare that it could happen!  It has to be better than expecting little pain and then watching your child cry and not eat!

Sheeeeez!  Not fun my friends...NOT FUN!

Through all of that, I also dealt with continuous migraines.  Evidently, there is this bone in my neck that won't stay put and when it moves out of alignment, OH MY GOODNESS! PAIN!

These nasty headaches sometimes last 48 hours and when your hubby works out of town a lot and you homeschool your children...well, let's just say things quickly go south for everybody!

Seriously, I was in so much pain the other day, I just wanted to go to sleep and not wake up!  I don't know how people live through chronic pain that doesn't stop.  I was lying there with tears rolling down my face wondering if all my boys would remember when they got older is their momma in bed with an ice pack on her head!

I HATE IT!  It steals entire days of my life!  It makes me angry!

And my boys are so sweet.  They check on me and pray for me, but it just aggravates me that our lives end up revolving around this pain!  And yes, I have thought about how much worse things could be and it does help put it in perspective, but still, it's robbing us of precious time and I want it to stop!  I literally cannot even think clearly when I'm in the midst of these headaches!

I was dealing with one the other day while Tom was away...and Garrison has braces that are coming loose and falling off his teeth...and I am trying to talk to the doctor's staff about Alex.  Oh my!  That was something.  No matter how hard I tried, she just wasn't connecting what I was saying!  

The optometrist found scarring on Alex's right eye so she sent him to an ophthalmologist.  He has histoplasmosis, which basically is a fungal infection that many people get in the Ohio River Valley.  Most people never show symptoms.  His eye is okay as long as the scars don't start bleeding.  ("Uh...hmmm...I'm sorry.  What now?  My son's eye may start what?  Did you say bleeding Doctor?"  Oh okay, no problem :/)

I decided to read up on it just to make sure I understood and some symptoms under disseminated histoplasmosis (this is the chronic form that has been in the body for a while) caught my attention...headaches, intestinal issues, ulcers in the mouth.  Alex has complained of these ailments a lot in the last couple months especially.  We have been trying to get his allergies under control and really just thought it was all because of that.

Now, I am not so sure it isn't from this fungal infection...that maybe it has caused problems with other parts of his body.  But, the poor lady at the Dr.'s office just kept focusing on the eyes and saying, "Well, the Doctor doesn't know much about the eyes..."  I wanted to scream!  We have the eye part figured out.  It's the other parts we need checked!

So...yeah...we need some guidance as to where we go from here.  I had to get off that phone before I said something I would regret later.  We are probably going to just take the boys to a new pediatrician at this point.  We've heard good reports about her.  

I'm thinking this mission trip is going to be outstanding with all the enemy has thrown at us lately!  I'm hoping to reconnect with God in a much needed way right now! 

Talk to you soon friends...