Beauty, Beaches, and Blessings (Trip North, #3)

On our last morning in Maine, we were loading the van when Dad ran quickly out of the hotel lobby and said “There’s a Pearl Harbor survivor in here that I think we should talk to!” Out we came, and then spent the next half hour or so talking to this 91 yr. old gentleman, Mr. Oster. We soon found out that he too is a Christian, and such a blessing it was to hear his story and learn more about our history as Americans! He was elated at the opportunity, sharing with us his sorrow over the fact that many young people are not being taught the true history of our country any longer. Because of Dad’s spirit of gratitude toward our servicemen, and his special love for WWII veterans, we got to sit under the counsel and wisdom of yet another godly man. Praise the LORD!

IMG_1149Thank you, Mr. Oster!

Following that, we had to see the coast just one more time before heading southwest for the FEW. Smile We spent about an hour out there together, taking in the breathtaking scenery and the cool, salty air!

On the roadside dock... anticipating the cool splash of the waves!IMG_1171

IMG_1177Our sweet photographer!Bloom where you are planted!

Special momentsWe tried to stay dry... or, should I say, most of us did! ;-D

It felt sooo good!IMG_1240Clowning

Wait on the LORD, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart.

The LORD is good, his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth to all generations. Praise ye the LORD!

Oh the beauty of God’s creation, the blessing of being together as a family, the glory of knowing that all is well because of Who is in control!

Dinner on the Coast of Maine (Trip North, #2)

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“The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.” Psalm 24:1-2

What could be better than enjoying a delectable meal with the most special people in the world while having the ability to gaze out far and wide into the beauties of God’s creation??

On our last night in Maine, we found a quaint little seaside restaurant at which we could do just that. And oh was it wonderful! The staff at The Dolphin were most hospitable, and afterward we were able to talk with the owner quite extensively and learn a lot about the happenings around that area of the coast. It was fascinating!

Before heading back to our hotel for a good night’s rest, we couldn’t resist a few pictures. Smile

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IMG_1074Enjoying the view

IMG_1121Not just sisters...

... but best friends!Neely "Littles" (and "not so littles" :D) -- oh what joy they bring to our lives!

Our wonderful parentsIMG_1135

“O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard: Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.” Psalm 66:8-9

“Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord. To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old, lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice. Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds. O God, thou are terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.” Psalm 68:32-35

Onward, Northward! (Trip North, #1)

Our most recent journey…

Began: Saturday, September 1st.

Destination: Lyndeborough, NH, for the 4th and final 2012 FEW Conference!

Ended: Monday, September 10th.

Since we would have to be gone for several days anyway due to the length of time it takes to get from here to NH, we decided to add in a few special stops along the way. We needed the time together, and the Lord truly blessed every day.

As we moved along the east coast, the first big event was a brief tour of Chincoteague and Assateague Islands.

Let your light so shine before menIMG_0979

Our next stop was in NJ to visit Mom’s brother and his family. A very special thank you to the Conn’s for their gracious, generous hospitality! We felt so welcomed, loved, and at home! On Labor Day they took us to a nearby hunting preserve, where we learned about how they raise the deer, control the population on the preserve, regulate the hunting, and more. Fascinating!

IMG_0982Incredible!

Look at that rack! Makes the trigger finger itch :-DIMG_0997

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for himLet everything that hath breath praise the Lord

Foosball!"I'll be the score-keeper!"The moms enjoyed a quiet time together while the rest of us went swimming

Feeling refreshed and encouraged after a delightful visit, we headed still northward to Maine.

It always helps to see things from a different perspectiveVisiting L.L. Bean for the first time in nearly 20 years!Shopping!

A moment of rest :-D

The L.L. Bean boot :-D

And… that’s all for now. Check in later to see the rest of the trip!

“Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee…” Psalm 31:19

Five Days of Humility, Prayer, and Fasting for America

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

II Chronicles 7:14

“Therefore also now, saith the LORD, Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.”

Joel 2:12

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Join us for five days of humility, fasting, and prayer for our nation.

Wednesday: September 5th

Wednesday: October 3rd

Sunday, Monday, & Tuesday: November 4th, 5th, & 6th

Some good friends of ours have put together a Devotional Prayer Guide to follow throughout these days.

As the elections draw nearer, may we all, as the people of God, cry out to Him with humility to have mercy on our land!

2012 VA FEW Conference

Preparations:

“…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear…” I Peter 3:15

Orderliness... precision...Writing notes of encouragement

Ladies session:

“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient unto their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:4-5

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Children’s session (during couples’ prayer time) and discipleship game time:

“Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:14

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward… Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.” Psalm 127:3-5

AttentivenessMeet the special guests: Accelerating Salary Sam, Mr. Barns, Practically Perfect Pamela, and Hiker Hank!

IMG_0530IMG_0514IMG_0522Let sisterly love continue

May we all be energy givers!IMG_0567IMG_0581

Other sessions:

“That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee…” Proverbs 22:19

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Fellowship… and other moments Smile:

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” Proverbs 17:22

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Capturing life......from all different angles.

The joy of the Lord is my strength!Cleaning...... the trash cans. :/

To God be praise and glory!

“I will praise thee forever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.” Psalm 52:9

Join us in New Hampshire (September 7-8) for the final FEW of 2012!!

25 Wonderful Years Together

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Today marks our silver anniversary. We decided to begin the celebration with our children at Chic-fil-a where there has been a recent stand for the Biblical definition of marriage.

A few weeks ago, I came across a letter written to me by my father a couple months before I got married. The letter arrived as the first piece of mail I received upon moving into our new apartment in Atlanta. Here is what it said:

 

May 18, 1987

Dear Patrick,

I wanted this to be there when you arrived at your apartment.

No Dad ever had more love and was “more prouder” of his son than I am of you and I thank God for you.

I hope you and Darlene enjoy the apartment. Your Mom and I are pleased you are marrying such a fine Christian young lady and we love her very much. Always put Christ the head of your home and exalt Him above all.

Truly to God be the Glory, Great things He has done.

I love you, Patrick.

Dad

No Pictures???!

Nope. We were too busy.

If you are like us, you probably like to look at posts that are loaded in pictures… Well, this past Monday we were so enormously busy that we didn’t take the time to get out the camera, but Mom suggested that we tell you about the day anyway.

Here’s a basic summary:

– first day of the 2012-2013 school year!!

– processing 23 qts. of green beans (picking, stemming, cutting, and canning)

– processing 4 qts. black beans

– freezing 4 qts. peaches

– processing 37 dozen ears of corn (picking, shucking, blanching, creaming, and freezing)

– continuing the computer work on putting together this year’s character curriculum

– eBay sales work

– 2 chiropractor appointments

– grocery shopping

– taking lunch to Dad at work

– spontaneous visits from 3 different sets of company!

– making Confederate Candles (minimum of 144)

– cleaning up the last of the evidence from two trees that fell in our yard last week

– trimming the shrubs

 

But…

… here’s a little background to the day.

5:30 am:

Beep. Beep. Beep.” I rolled over and opened my eyes just enough to see the clock. “Uhhggggg…” I thought. Having an intense cough, I hadn’t gotten much sleep that night and didn’t feel like I could possibly attack all that I had to do that day with such a low energy level. To be brutally honest, I felt down. Way down. Exhausted. Sick. Discouraged. My head felt like a pressure canner. Managing to drag myself out of bed, I went downstairs and started getting ready for the day. I began to pray, telling the Lord how I felt, and suddenly He prompted me to begin thanking Him for it all. Even in the midst of what feels terrible, there are a thousand things to praise Him for! My headache began to lessen in intensity, and there was new hope, new enthusiasm, about facing the day before me.

In my time in the Word a little later, the Lord encouraged me with Psalm 71:8 – “Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and honor all the day.” The Lord periodically brought this to mind, as…

… for the next 18 hours, we worked hard. Very hard. Together. And, did I mention hard?? Smile

Oh what joy and fulfillment it brings when you labor with your family to take dominion over what the Lord has entrusted to you!

Shortly before dropping into bed at midnight, as we were scrubbing the last few stuck-on pieces of sticky sweet corn from the counters and cabinets and floor, we heard something. The last few notes of a song off of a new CD we recently purchased sang with peaceful reassurance: “His grace is sufficient…”

“Listen to what’s playing! How timely!” someone exclaimed. We all paused. We listened, enjoying the stillness.

What a blessed reminder! “His grace IS sufficient…”

 

So, if you took the time to read this long, rambling post (even with NO PICTURES!!), I applaud your perseverance and want to remind you that His grace is sufficient for you, in whatever you are facing today! You may feel tired, or sick, or discouraged. Your head may feel like a pressure canner.

Begin to give thanks, and seek Christ’s strength through His Word. Recount His abundant mercies in your life. And then dive into the work before you and you will find…

His grace is sufficient.

Testimony of Faithfulness… and of a Truly Christian Marriage

The Christian Marriage

By C.H. Spurgeon

“Sometimes we have seen a model marriage, founded on pure love, and cemented in mutual esteem. Therein, the husband acts as a tender head; and the wife, as a true spouse, realizes the model marriage-relation, and sets forth what our oneness with the Lord ought to be… Their object in life is common. There are points where their affections [are] so intimately united that none could tell which is first and which is second. To watch their children growing up in health and strength, to see them holding posts of usefulness and honor, is their mutual concern; in this and other matters, they are fully one. Their wishes blend, their hearts are indivisible. By degrees, they come to think very much the same thoughts. Intimate association creates conformity; I have known this to become so complete that, at the same moment, the same utterance has leaped to both their lips.

Happy woman and happy man! If Heaven be found on earth, they have it! At last, the two are so blended, so engrafted on one stem, that their old age presents a lovely attachment, a common sympathy, by which its infirmities are greatly alleviated, and its burdens are transformed into fresh bonds of love. So happy a union of will, sentiment, thought, and heart exists between them, that the two streams of their life have washed away the dividing bank, and run on as one broad current of united existence till their common joy falls into the ocean of eternal felicity.”

On July 21, Uncle Willis and Aunt Myrtle Smith (Aunt Myrtle is Dad’s aunt – sister to his dad) celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary!

Thank you, Uncle Willis and Aunt Myrtle, for your Christ-like example of faithfulness, loyalty, and love. What a legacy we have been handed!

We couldn't find a photo of just the two of them, but here they are with us and a lot of our other extended family. (far left)(Taken 2010)We love you!

P.S. We can’t wait to celebrate #70 with you!!

P.S.S. For those of you who have our Patriotic CD Lest We Forget, and have listened to track 10, you might find it interesting that it was Uncle Willis and Aunt Myrtle who sent the telegram in the spring of 1945 to Douglas, stationed at a Texas Army base, regarding the death of the two other brothers in WWII.

Recent Journeys (Part 4)… Destination: West Virginia

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15

Our final journey (at least for those few weeks Smile) took us to visit the Staddon Brigade and help host the WV FEW Conference. The Lord blessed the effort that went into it all, and though in numbers the conference was smaller than some, in unity and sweet fellowship it was truly great. What a precious time to be together with other like-minded believers who desire to reject the ways of the world and seek Christ in every aspect of life, and to hear the Word proclaimed in clear and practical teaching!

The FEW Team kicked off the weekend with a special birthday celebration!Getting to know the newest member of the FEW Team... just precious!

IMG_9586Working together to get everything ready for the orchestra

IMG_9597OrchestraRegistration

The three Team mothers shared during the ladies' sessionMeet "Practically Perfect Pamela"... and learn how to combat the lies she is believing with the powerful truth of Scripture. (Children's hour skit :-))"Accelerating Salary Sam" :-D

Game time!Future leaders

Several of the young ladies were able to share during the "Preparing Daughters" session"Preparing Daughters""Preparing Young Men"

Powerful testimonies in the "Preparing Young Men" sessionWhat a great applesauce-making team!

Time to build relationshipsA rousing game of "Layers!"

For more information about the upcoming FEW Conferences in Virginia and New Hampshire, drop us comment!

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