Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6 (NIV)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vacation Day 6, 7, 8 - Notified that Grandma Died, 9

On Vacation day 6 we checked out of the Holiday Inn and checked into the Henderson Park Inn.  We went to the beach in between checking out and checking in.  The Henderson Park Inn was beautiful.  

We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast on Day 7.  THEN I hit my wall.  I was done being on vacation.  I was ready to go home.  I was weepy and irritable.   This place is beautiful, but I wanted to be with my kids.

We left in the afternoon after going to the beach one more time.  We drove through Alabama and Mississippi (state 11) to Houma, Louisiana (state 12) and spent the night.  We are fans of the TV show "Swamp People".  We wanted to see the alligators up close and personal. 

After we ate breakfast (Friday, Day 8), I was curling my hair when my Mom called me to let me know that my Grandma had passed away the night before.  My sister was taking care of the kids and I wasn't able to get a hold of her for a little bit.  I thought she might want to drive up to see my family, but she was unable to because of the amount of days she could take off work.  Shawn was willing to let me fly back if I needed to pick up the kids early.  Since it was Memorial Day weekend, the funeral wasn't going to be for several days, so I decided I wouldn't fly out.  We decided to enjoy our day in Louisiana.

We toured the Greenwood Gator Farm in Gibson, La.  We had SO much fun.  We toured with Tim.  It was better than going to the zoo for me. 

Shawn with baby alligator and Tim "owner" and our tour guide.

Turtles on the farm

WOW!  Me holding a gator.
 This was so much fun.  You really need to go experience it for yourself.

Then we wanted to visit the alligators in the wild, so we went to a nature reserve.  Google maps led us on a tangent, but we were so glad it did because this is what Shawn was able to take a picture of:

1st alligator we saw on nature reserve
2nd alligator we saw on nature reserve

Animals you might see on the trail.  I was afraid of the bear, snake, and alligator in that order.

Nature Trail

 We saw several baby alligators on the trail.  Shawn said, "The Mama has to be around here somewhere because Tim said that where the babies are, the Mom is nearby."
We didn't see her walking toward the end, but we saw this when we turned around and were walking back.  You can see the alligator toward the middle-right hand side of the picture, poking her eye's out of the water.  As you can see, there isn't much of a rail on the boardwalk. 

This picture shows you the size of her head. 

 She hissed at us after we'd walked by her.  Shawn took several pictures of her. 

We stayed in Texarkana, Texas (state 13) on Day 8 night.  Then on Day 9 we drove from Texarkana through Arkansas (state 14) and then through Missouri and into Kansas (state 15).

I was so happy to see my kids.

This is what we did the day we got home:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Vacation Day 5 - Madly Missing My Kids

This morning we woke up and Shawn took a walk on the beach while I blogged. 

Then we left and went to Topsail Hill Preserve.  We hiked about a mile to the beach.  We walked along the beach for a while and then Shawn decided to go in.  I went in with him. 

The water is so clear here, that it is easier for me to go out farther.  If anything is coming at you, you are going to see it.

I told him that it is amazing that the water is so clear.  It has to be dirty.  Just think of the amount of whale poop in it, not to mention spit.  It is not good to get seawater in your mouth.

We ate lunch at Panera Bread.  It was SO good.  I had chicken tortilla soup and a half turkey sandwich.  Shawn ordered a blueberry scone, so I ate half of it also.

Then we headed back to the hotel and went swimming again.  We had bought an umbrella and a boogy board.  The waves were getting bigger, so we were beat by the time we were done swimming.   Then we lazily, laid on the beach under our umbrella.  It was very nice and beautiful.

I told Shawn that I missed the kids.

We then went up to shower and ordered pizza delivery.  We took the pizza down to the deck behind the hotel. We were enjoying our meal when I started hearing, "Help.  Help.  HELP!"  My first thought was, "Is someone messing arround or does someone REALLY need help?"   
I was looking out toward the sound, but could only see 3 people in the ocean. 

Shawn said, "Stay here and watch the stuff."

I didn't obey.  I followed him down to the beach ready to do CPR if I needed to.

There was probably about 20 people along the shore by this time and about 7 people in the water.  The 3 original people yelling for help were in the water caught in a rip current.  The wind was really blowing by this time and the waves were the biggest we'd seen since we got here.

Finally, the 2 women and the men were able to get out with the help of their volunteer rescuers.  It was scary for a minute.  I am thankful that no one was hurt.

We finished our meal and went back to our room.  We rented a movie because there are free movie rentals at the hotel.  We saw "The Vow."  This got me in a very thankful for my blessings and I really miss my kids even more mood.

After the movie was over, I went to the bathroom and cried because I didn't want to upset Shawn and ruin the vacation.  My heart was missing them badly. I have missed each one of them individually at some point or another on this trip, but at this particular moment, I was crying for my Owen.

So, I have been telling myself this entire vacation that, "The kids will be fine.  They are having there own adventure."

 My sister called at 10:00 pm and told me that Owen was missing us and cried twice.  We skyped with them for a good 30 minutes.    That made my heart feel better.  To hear my daughter say, "My Momma.  My Daddy."  To see their smiling faces.  To hear that Owen was writing a message and say that he missed us, loved us, and that we were the best parents.  To see that Liam had on his sister's Mickey Mouse pajamas.  To see Aiden's hair cut the way he likes it.

I love you.  Each and every one of my kids.

Vacation Day 4 - Arriving at the Beach, Destin, FL

Before we arrived in Destin, Fl (state 10), Shawn decided that would be our final destination.  He needed some days to relax and not drive or be rushed.

Shawn in front of the Ocean at Henderson Beach

Pompano Joe's

Someone asked us to take their picture, so we had them take ours

Me walking along the beach not knowing Shawn took the picture.

Shawn's Postcard Shot

Vacation Day 3 - Laurel Falls and Smoky Mountains

The following is a picture of our 1970's hotel before we left in that morning.  We were in Gatlinburg, TN.  Tennessee was state number 6.

The following is the sweet treats that Cindy sent with us from their local bakery.  I am so glad she sent these because Shawn told me that he didn't want to eat at the hotel.  They sent up donuts and coffee, but he didn't want a donut.  I tried the brownie that Cindy sent and one bite of the cupcake.  I didn't want to overdo it before breakfast.  We then left for Laurel Falls.  Then Shawn decided that he didn't want to eat breakfast.  So, I proceeded to throw a fit because I didn't get my coffee, nor was I full.  And yes, this fit lasted off and on for 2 days.  Don't mess with my breakfast or my coffee.  AND don't tell me when I've had enough to eat.  Yes, I act like a 2 year old sometimes.

The following pictures were taken walking on the trail to Laurel Falls.

The following is a picture of a tree with roots that have followed the water and basically grown up and out or between the rock.  Shawn said that I like to take pictures of things that have overcome adversity.

This is one picture to prove that Shawn was on this trip, too.

This is a picture of tree roots that had grown into the paved path.

Psalm 1:3
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

The following roots looked like they too had to overcome adversity.  This particular root system made me think of the above Bible verse.

The above are what we came here to see:  Laurel Falls.  It was a 1.3 mile hike to the falls (so 2.6 roundtrip).  We had to be a little adventurous to get this picture.  We had to climb down the rocks that were off the beaten path.  Sometimes it is so freeing to be a little adventurous.
Seeing the falls made me think of God. 

It was really cold down below the falls.  There were rocks and trees all around.  It was like being in the air conditioning.  The water was F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G that was coming down from the top.  My heart was filled with joy.

After we stopped at the falls, we took the a road called Newfound something or other road.  On the middle of the stretch of road there is a stopping point where you can overlook valleys on both sides of the road.

You cross over into North Carolina at this point.  North Carolina is state 7.

We really enjoyed stopping on this side of the Smoky Mountains.  It is on a Cherokee Indian reservation and we appreciated stopping and eating here.  I had an Indian Taco. It was REALLY good.

We headed south again.  Shawn decided that he wanted to drive into Alabama and see a movie that night.  We ended up going through Georgia (state 8) and ended up in Auburn, Alabama (state 9).  We watched "Dark Shadows" and I had popcorn, M&M's and Diet Coke for supper. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Vacation Day 2 - The Family of God

The family of God.  You know at church how we talk about being the family of God, but until you walk outside of those church doors, you only experience it on a small scale.  These last few years, I have truly been blessed to meet more of God's family.  Last year, I got to meet DJ (the Holt-Korea social worker).  Before that I met some missionaries from Taiwan and a pastor from Belarus.  Before that I met several children within our church's association that were from several different churches.

Sometimes you meet very special people over the Internet.  I have met several, and will get to hopefully meet them in person soon (like at the Holt picnic).   I don't remember what it was about Cindy, but her Spirit just speaks to mine. 

When Shawn told me we were going to drive to Florida to the beach, I asked if we could swing by Kentucky to meet Cindy and her family.  He said, "Yes." 

We started off our second day driving to this lovely family's house.  Cindy and Nat adopted their daughter, Ella, from South Korea.  Ella was born in the same month as Faith.  Nolan her son was also there.

We had a wonderful short visit.  What a wonderful blessing to have met them in their home (Nat and Nathaniel were not there.  They were on a father-son trip.)  Thank you, Cindy.

I wish I could have stayed longer.  Their neighborhood is beautiful and I would have loved to have met Cindy's friend Brittany.

A few hours after we left Cindy's house, I needed a bathroom break and the car needed some gas.  As soon as I got out of the car, this is what I saw:

I said, "Seriously?  Out of the all the gas stations, we had to come to the one with the bathrooms outside?"

For some reason, when you go to stations with the bathrooms outside, they seem to ALWAYS be disgusting.  These were right up there in the disgusting category.  It was so awful, I didn't even want to wash my hands in there. 

We went into the store for something to drink and a snack and some hand sanitizer.  They didn't have any hand sanitizer, but they did have a bottle of peroxide that had been on the shelf what looked like 100 years.  We left that store and went across the street to wash our hands.  Hours later, Shawn realized that he had lost his credit card at the "NASTY" gas station.

That wasn't fun, but hey it happens.

I took a few pictures today that looked like this:

I told Shawn that I took a lot of pictures of trees today.  They were the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.   Experiencing the Appalachia's are much different than the Rockies.  You can see the Rocky Mountains for a long time before you arrive, but you drive through many hills before you arrive at the Appalachian Mountains.   I feel so blessed to have experienced them both within the last 5 years.

Cindy had recommended that we go to Applewood Barn in Pigeon Forge for supper.  We  ate there.  Their apple dumplings with apple butter were DELICIOUS.  Then we drove on to Gatlinburg.

We spent the night in a hotel that looked like it was something out of the 1970's.  It was expensive for only being there less than 12 hours. 

We like to go to places that are less populated and not so touristy.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Vacation Day 1

Friday was day one of our vacation.  Shawn has finally slowed down enough for me to type. 

I started out leaving our children in Iowa at my mothers house.  I left at about 7:30 a.m.  It wasn't as difficult leaving them as I thought it would be.  I was going to wait until they woke up, but I knew I had to get on the road to make good time for the rest of our trip. 

They were all sleeping when I gave them hugs good-bye. 

Leaving for Vacation

Shawn was still on the clock on Friday, so our first stop was Chillicothe, MO due to the battery on the laptop was dead. 

Our next stop was Hannibal, MO because the laptop battery was dead again.  He had to get one more thing done before vacation.  We stopped at Breadeaux Pizza long enough for him to get it done.  Then the real vacation started.

Mark Twain's House
They have replica's of the houses from characters in his books.  I took a picture of "Huck Finn's" outhouse.   I thank God for indoor plumbing.

After we walked around Mark Twain's boyhood home, we walked down by the Mississippi.  I took a picture of this post.  It was written in many languages around the post.   I pray for God's peace to prevail soon.

We got back on the road again and drove through the southern tips of Illinois and Indiana.  We stayed at Owensboro, Ky. 

I visited 5 states on day one.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


We (Shawn and I) are on vacation day 2. I will post about vacation day 1 later. This morning as I was getting ready to go ( you know with all this hair it takes me a long time, so there was a long time for reflection) I was thinking about how much time women spend on their outer beauty. I tell you, it is getting harder as I get older to look good. How much time do we spend on our inner beauty? How much time do we spend with God? how much time on our knees? How I want to be in HIS presence. Since, it takes me longer to get ready, there is also more time spent looking at the physical reflection in the mirror and how many flaws I have. Then I pondered about my inner flaws. Do my inner flaws outweigh the outer flaws? I need the covering of Christ. I sometimes wonder how other people see me. I want them to see Christ first and only. I want to radiate HIM. I am typing on an iPad. It's a new experience. I can't get it to post the link, so I just copied and pasted Psalm 34 for you below. I especially focused on Psalm 34:5. May you be blessed by the Word of God. Psalm 34 1 I will extol the Lord at all times;     his praise will always be on my lips. 2 I will glory in the Lord;     let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 3 Glorify the Lord with me;     let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me;     he delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant;     their faces are never covered with shame. 6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;     he saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,     and he delivers them. 8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;     blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. 9 Fear the Lord, you his holy people,     for those who fear him lack nothing. 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,     but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. 11 Come, my children, listen to me;     I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 Whoever of you loves life     and desires to see many good days, 13 keep your tongue from evil     and your lips from telling lies. 14 Turn from evil and do good;     seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,     and his ears are attentive to their cry; 16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,     to blot out their name from the earth. 17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;     he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted     and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 The righteous person may have many troubles,     but the Lord delivers him from them all; 20 he protects all his bones,     not one of them will be broken. 21 Evil will slay the wicked;     the foes of the righteous will be condemned. 22 The Lord will rescue his servants;     no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Sacred Role

Recently, I listened to Revive Our Hearts and Nancy Leigh DeMoss had a guest on her show named Erin Davis.  Erin has a new book called Beyond Bath Time:  Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role.  I can not wait to read this book.

I had been struggling with depression due to feeling like my role wasn't important. My in and out daily duties just didn't stack up to the importance of the "working world".

I am SO glad that God once again has taken me out of the miry pit.

My role as a mother is sacred.  All of my life I have wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom.  That was my goal.  I am so blessed to be able to be home with my children. 

I am going to paraphrase something that Erin said, "You are reaching an "unreached people group."  Your children have never heard the gospel.  Teach it to them. Live it."

I had a wonderful low-key mother's day weekend. 

We watched "We Bought a Zoo" on Friday night.  Saturday night,  all of us but the youngest one (she went to her aunts house) saw the Avengers at the movie theater.  Sunday we spent lunch with my mother's-in-law family and we ate out for supper.  I didn't have to cook all day Sunday and I spent it with these special gifts.

These pictures were taken Monday night at the supper table of my blessings  (4/5 of them) being silly at the supper table:

Dear Lord,
May I be anointed to serve them with your Power and Grace.  May you shower them with the gift of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control through me.  Thank you for letting me care for these blessings and entrusting me with them.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Angry Mom

Our daughter came home 8 months ago today (5/4/2012). It has changed our family dynamic to say the least.  I am working on my behavior toward all of my children.  I want to be a kind, gentle, loving mother at all times.  I am striving toward this goal.

I am getting better at controlling my anger, but I haven't mastered it yet.

Yesterday, a dear friend of mine told me that I needed to listen to Dr. James Dobson's message on Family Talk.  It was actually about the Nation and how we've turned from God.  The messages before that subject was about being an angry Mom.

If you've been overwhelmed by being a Mommy sometimes, I encourage you to listen to the programs on April 30 and May 1 titled, "Help for Angry Moms Part I and Part II." 

I need a ther"mom"meter.

Happy listening.