Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Vacation Update

Know that it has been awhile since I last posted... I have been away on vacation and then playing catch-up. Isn't it amazing... you do laundry so you can pack, then you get back and do more laundry... and then you have to go to the grocery! Oh well... all caught up with that part, anyway.

Mickey, Carly, Michael and I headed to Washington DC over spring break. This is a place that I have always wanted to go to. So, this was kind of like MY vacation... and I enjoyed it.

Our first stop... the Washington Monument... it was really something to see... so much larger than you think when you see it on TV... and looking across at the WWII Memorial and the Lincoln Memoriall... wow... that is all I could say... oh yeah... and I cried.

Yep... I cried... couldn't help myself. I was amazed by the whole thing. And the WWII Memorial.... yep... cried again! All those lives lost... so that we could enjoy the freedom that we have today!

And Grandma and Grandpa Neal gave Michael a penny before we left. Told him to take it to the Lincoln Monument... he asked about it when we got there. We produced the penny and made sure to take a picture of him with it in front of Lincoln. (Don't worry Grandma and Grandpa... your copy is on the way!) And we only had one family picture taken on the whole trip... the perks of being the bearer of the camera!

Carly couldn't wait to get her picture in front of the reflecting pool... she actually told us she was going to run into the water yelling "Jenny... Jenny... " Yep... Forrest Gump!

We did alot of walking... a lot of sightseeing... and we had a great time... I would suggest a DC trip to anyone... very enjoyable! My favorite... the changing of the guard at the Arlington National Cemetary... amazing... and the number of tomb stones... staggering.

The Washington National Cathedral

The National Zoo - who doesn't love a panda!

And finally... our kiddos at the White House.....

Yep... a good time was had by all!!! (Although Michael was ready to come home right after we got there... what a homebody!!!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What must God hear?

Every three months I get to sing with the church praise band... I'm a "doo wop girl" and get to sing with my sister friend, Rebecca. Honestly, we do a little giggling along the way, but hey... God has come to expect this from us!

Anyway, Sunday morning I was out the door at 7:30 AM, headed in for the 8:00 AM practice. It was a beautiful morning... and as I looked around I thought (as I have a million times) how can anyone look at creation and not see God? The sheer enormity of it all... and how it is so intricately woven together! How can anyone deny the presence of God when they look at the trees, the sky, the grass, the birds... etc... etc... etc! Then I wondered... what does God see when he looks down on this earth that he created?!

My thoughts then turned quickly to this thought... here it was, early on a Sunday morning... the one day of the week where so many are focused on Him... and I wondered... was he hearing prayers being lifted up to begin the day? Was he hearing conversations that were pleasing? Was he excited that someone... somewhere... was giving thanks for all that he had created? That he had given? That he continues to give??

Then it hit me... what is louder... the prayers of praise... or the cries of the lonely? Or how about the cries of anger... of hatred?? And what about the voices of those who refuse to hear God when he calls?? Are they overpowering the voices of those who call upon his name.

I believe that God hears everything... that he has is hand over us all... no matter where we fall on the belief scale... and I wondered... what stands out the most as he listens? I must admit... I found myself tearing up as I drove down the road... because as I look about our world today, I fear that the voices of the unbeliever are beginning to overpower the voices of the believer. And that makes me very sad... and not for myself... but for God... because I know that he longs to be in relationship with us ALL!!! And I know that right now... his heart must be breaking!

It was a sobering way to begin the week... and the thought has stayed with me. Praise him... glorify his name... and let him hear your voice! In the process, your relationship with him will grow deeper and be strengthened!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Goodbye my friend

We received word that our friend, Bob, went home to meet his Savior last night. He has had a mighty battle going on over the past few months, and the struggle was great... more than his heart could withstand. I know that his wife, his children, and grandchildren will miss this dear, sweet man.

I first met Bob shortly after we began attending GCC. We were both singing in the choir. I was always struck by the joy he showed as he sang. I soon learned that his daughter-in-law was the church's Children's Minister... and Sha, along with her husband Bobby, had a very active children's ministry. It wasn't long before I volunteered for my first VBS at GCC, and enjoyed every minute of it. Bob was always present, helping out in anyway he could.

This soon led to me volunteering my time at church camp, and despite having lung issues, Bob was right there at camp too. He loved to work with the kids there, and loved to support Sha's work with the children. Over the next three years Bob and I served at church camp together. We even managed to round out the "gimp squad" a couple of years ago.

Right before camp began, I managed to break my foot, and another volunteer managed to tear his knee... but we were both determined to attend camp. So Bob, who was dealing with major lung issues, decided that he would go and rent a golf cart for our stay. We members of the "gimp squad" spent the three days of camp tooling around in our awesome ride! We had so much fun, and Bob, well... he ended up giving rides around the camp to all the kids. I am not sure who had the most fun, Bob or the kids!

Over the past few weeks Bob's illness had taken its toll, but he still managed a smile for anyone who came to visit. But I am not choosing to remember Bob as I saw him last. I will remember his smile as he would said, "Hello Ms. Lynn"... I will remember that he always answered "Finer than a frog hair split three ways" when asked how he was feeling, and I will remember him sitting behind the wheel of a golf cart at Scenic Hills Christian Camp... a huge smile on his face as he gave those children the ride of their lives.

He was a husband who was loved, a father who poured himself into his children, and a Gramps who was so proud of each of his grandchildren. But most importantly... he was a son of God, who is now spending eternity at the feet of the Savior he served.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A weekend "Away"

Mickey and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary on Friday, so we decided to take a little time away. Actually, we opted to stay at home and send the kids away! Carly and Michael headed to their sisters, and Rachel and family entertained them over the weekend.

On Friday, following a few medical tests for me (information on that later...) Mickey and I did a little shopping... first we headed to the Verizon store, where I got an upgrade and we added another line for Carly. I handed over my old phone to her today, and she was very excited. Me... I will feel more comfortable now when she is driving around! Then Mickey and I headed to check out some new furniture... we are looking for a new couch and a love seat for the living room, but for now, we are just looking. Then we had a nice meal at the Olive Garden... gotta love their salad!

On Saturday we went for a late breakfast and then drove over to the Home and Garden Show in Louisville. Oh... the ideas we came away with! There are so many wonderful ideas for outside... and I would love to do them all... but alas... they cost money, so I guess for now I will just dream. We saw some beautiful swings... small out buildings (now that, we WILL do in the spring), some awesome stone patios with rock gardens... LOVE to look at those! After a bit of walking there, we went to Southeast Christian for the 5:00 service. Always an awesome service there! We finished our evening with a meal at W.W. Cousins... they have great hamburgers there, and I love the fact that they have a topping bar!

This morning, we decided to sleep in and then we headed to GCC for second service. We had taken the day off from teaching our elementary class during first service. Our good friend, Joe, was giving today's message. He did a wonderful job. And when we arrived, Michael and Carly were waiting for us at the door. Michael had missed us, (and I think that Carly had as well!!) and it was great to see them. (Right now, Michael is climbing all over Mickey... he truly missed his Dad time!)

It was great to get some one on one quiet time with Mickey... we don't get much of that these days. Always good to recharge the batteries in a marriage... and honestly, people just don't do this enough. I know that for Mickey and I, as parents, we find it hard to remember that our priorities should be listed: God, Spouse, Kids, etc... we too often find ourselves placing the kids ahead of one another... and it was great to be able to take a step back and remember the order which God intended. So if you get the opportunity to get a little time "away", make sure that you make the most of it.

A big thanks to Rachel and Robert for providing a "resting place" for the kids... and to Carly for making sure her little brother was comfortable! Now... if you can get our your calendars.. we would love to reserve a date sometime in September!!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Picture Tag

Sixth Picture folder... 6th picture.....
Imagine it being a picture of the grands... This was prior to the arrival of Levi... grand #4...
L to R... Camden, Emma and Kailyn... aren't they so cute?!

So, if you are reading my blog, and you haven't been tagged... consider yourself so! Go to the 6th picture folder on your computer and choose the 6th picture in that folder... have fun!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Spring Cleaning

I recently heard an interesting term... someone said that they were "cleansing" their home... and I believe that they were referring to removing things from the lives of their children that they believe will cause them harm. Now... honestly, I have no problem with that. I believe that everyone ought to make sure that their children are taken care of. Yet, I also believe that one person's level of cleanliness is not the same as anothers.

I have always tried to make sure that our children know the difference between right and wrong. We have taken our children to church, we have lived our lives in such a manner that they have seen that Jesus should be at the center of their lives. Our older children have all demonstrated that they get this... they attend church, those with children are passing their love for Christ on to their children... and those without children willingly attend church, and one even serves in a ministry capacity. (Actually, two have ministries, Rachel serves as VBS Director for her church and Carly works in the Children's Ministry at our church!) I believe that we have given our children a solid foundation on which to build their relationships with Christ. Yet, some might view our childrearing skills as something less than stellar when they compare them with their own standards.

I think what people have forgotten is that I don't have to live up to their standards... and I could care less if they feel that a particular book, movie, or song is inappropriate. I am not about pleasing them, and I believe that if I am doing my job right according to what I believe that God has asked of me, then that is all that matters. I enjoy a good fictional read, and I always have. I have encouraged my children to read as well, and have taught them that fiction is just what it says it is... stories written from the imagination of the writer... in reality it doesn't exist, but it is writen to take the reader to a place of escape. And if people don't get that... if they feel that their children will be harmed by what they read, then by all means, don't let them read it... but don't tell me that I am raising my children wrong because my rules don't conform to yours!

You know, even in the spring cleaning of my home, I would guarantee that I might not do as thorough a job as someone else (in fact, I can guarantee it) but that doesn't mean that my home isn't clean. No matter how clean you try and get your home, there will always be fingerprints here and there to contend with. When fingerprints happen you can either choose to make a huge fuss over them, or you can teach those around you to clean up after themselves.... but you have to make the choice about how to handle that situation yourself!

For me, I believe that when our children leave our home, they will be entering the real world, and I want to make sure that they can handle that. I want to make sure they are are equipped to do what is necessary to make their lives pleasing in the sight of God... and I believe that if I allow them to bury their heads to reality now, they will suffer down the road. But that is what I believe will work for OUR children... I don't know your children, nor do I presume to. I know that you are doing what is best for them! So... I won't look for fingerprints on your windows... if you won't look for fingerprints on mine.