… while Dad and Mom were away!!!! Ha ha ha! :):):)
This weekend Dad and Mom were gone to the Wilds for their Overnight Sweetheart Getaway! 🙂 If we had been there, we would be telling you about what a fantastic time we had, the powerful messages we heard, the delicious food, all the stairs we climbed, the thrilling ride on the famous Giant Swing… and much, much more… But since we weren’t there, you’ll have to hear about that some other time, and for now, be content with an overview of the activities that took place on the home front.
To say the least… we had a delightful time!! It seems I am continually being reminded that time with my family is immensely precious… something not to be taken for granted because it will not last forever! The message we heard on Sunday following all of the adventures (which I will recount for you in a moment) called us to remember relationships: first of all, with Jesus Christ, and second, with our families. Relationships are of upmost importance. If you think about it, that is the one thing that separates Christianity from all other “religions.” Christianity is based upon a personal relationship with the God of the universe, rather than how we can try in our own strength to be “good enough” to measure up to His righteous standards. Thus, the focus is on Him, not on us. The parallels to be drawn from this regarding the family are amazing, for the only way to have a truly good relationship with someone is to be constantly thinking of them, not ourselves. This is a conviction to me even as I write it, but may we always have this “others focus,” and look for ways to bless those the Lord has placed around us!
With those thoughts in mind, one of the highlights of our time together was heading outdoors to be wild savages, or at least, to do our utmost to reach that lofty status. 😉 With painted faces, braided hair, ponies, a “pale face prisoner,” and some good-ole Injun grub, we made our way to our secret hideout in the woods and succeeded in building a wigwam – of sorts! Talk about memories!
Some other memory-making activities that took place were experimenting with our own version of Mocha Freeze drinks, reading The Island Queen by R.M. Ballentyne, making dozens and dozens and dozens and… LOTS of cookies to freeze for the upcoming FEW Conference, and sleeping in late. 🙂
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
So, I would challenge you to get out with your family and make some memories together… lasting ones. You won’t be sorry!
Well, before we have to write an “Update 3,” we had the brilliant idea that we’d just better keep up with all that’s going on around here!! 🙂
Last week we had the spur-of-the-moment and DELIGHTFUL experience of having the Wilkes ladies here for a couple days! Some of the guys came south for a farm show in TN, used us as a hotel, and brought the ladies with them to keep us company! For several days, we just lived life, including school work, celebrating Hannah’s birthday, evening visits from Mr. Traylor – a business associate of Daddy’s and now a great friend of the family, and Jennifer Jennings, also a good friend of ours, house cleaning, afternoon rest times, an overnight visit from Jon Hynes, and even a tea party!… All of this (and so much more!!!!) took place with the extra special blessing of having four extra special ladies around. Sisters, both biological and adopted, 🙂 are such treasures from the Lord! Words fail to describe the beauty of our time together… but I can’t give bunches of pictures to help out because sadly, the ones from this are few due to the absence of one camera during the visit and the loss of the shots from the other! But praise be to God that we have memories (and journals :))…
But I will leave you with the reminder to truly treasure the times you have with your sisters, both biological and your sisters in the Lord! Learn from each other! Disciple each other! Laugh together! Talk… for hours! Make fun and unusual memories!
The bond of love that will be created is priceless!
“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment…” (Philippians 1:9)
“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another… to the end that he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)
A few more pictures from the times when the guys were in…
By the time you’ve finished reading this post, you should be well-informed as to what we’ve been doing…. At least for a few days…. until we go off and do something else. Sometimes you just never know what we’ll do next…. in fact, sometimes we don’t even know what we’ll do next. Who knows, we may decide to take a trip to the moon!! (Well, that is a little “far out” – literally, and there aren’t any plans right now to do something that drastic…. but then again, you just never know… )
The Monday following Christmas, the Staddon family came for an all-too-short visit. It is hard to accurately put into words everything that happened. There’s an old saying that goes something like, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” so we’ll just show you the pictures.
Next on the schedule was a trip to Bainbridge, GA to visit Grandmama (Dad’s mom) and “Uncle Fudge.” Long-time friends of the family, “Uncle” Bill and “Aunt” Peggy Chapman, who we hadn’t seen in three years, were also there.
We had been asked to sing in two churches down there, one pastored by one of Dad’s science teachers, and our aunt, uncle and cousin go to the other. Both services went really well, and we praise the Lord for the opportunities to minister!
We also did some hunting while we were down there, but unfortunately did not have the opportunity to pull the trigger, except on a couple of armadillos. Oh well…. maybe next year….
We are disappointed to not have any pictures of that eight-point buck, or even a nice doe, which we were really hoping to see…. but we do have some pictures of the times that we weren’t in the woods. It was truly a wonderful time to visit with friends and family for a few days!!!
We were home for a couple days, and then friends from Atlanta, the Barnes family, came for two days. And it was a great visit! We even got to go sledding… with snow and real sleds.
Whew! Now I think you have been pretty much updated… oh and two weeks ago all of us had dentist appointments, we got a foot of snow, and Mom and Dad went away for the weekend and left us kids home with a friend. This week we’ve had more doctor’s appointments, and day trip to Greenville, and more company… life moves on. We look forward to what the Lord will bring across our path in the days to come… and hopefully we won’t fall too far behind in our blogging!
Well, it has been a while since we’ve posted anything. The Lord has opened several doors of opportunity for our family, and with any opportunity comes responsibility. It has been a busy winter season, but it is definitely well worth it!!
Enough introduction…. here’s a brief summary of recent happenings….
We were blessed to be asked to present a Christmas program at a local church in early December. It truly was a blessing to fellowship with other believers!
The Hynes family came for a brief visit at the beginning of December. We had a delightful visit with them, which included snowball “fights” and photography talk, and many games of Checkers.
Next on the agenda was a much anticipated trip to Louisville, Kentucky to minister in music at Landmark Independent Baptist Church. It was a fabulous trip, leaving us uplifted and encouraged. Matter of fact, we had such a wonderful time, that we neglected the camera, and ended up with a select few pictures. Oh well… the memories are still sweet! Here are some of the pictures we did get…
We got home from Louisville on December 20, and quickly began doing last minute Christmas preparations. We also went to a Christmas program at a friend’s church, which was very well done, and a huge blessing! On Christmas Eve, we sang at our local nursing home, then went caroling through our neighborhood. Christmas day was quiet, but very restful, allowing us to focus on the Reason of Christmas and to enjoy time together as a family.
Part 2 coming soon!
Titus was given “Wahoo” for Christmas, and he quickly became one of the favorite toys!!
If you have not read the previous post, entitled “Life,” click here and read it first.
Currently, our family is smack in the middle of a trend that is sweeping violently through the house: cleaning out! Mom got a new book for Christmas that has motivated us all to evaluate how much stuff our home can really hold before it busts at the seams, and how much of this stuff we really need.
Well, yesterday I was organizing a low shelf in my room that, for all too long, has been forgotten and sadly neglected. To my surprise, several of the articles at one end belonged to me! I found several old notebooks… one with my coloring pictures from way back (well… maybe not that long ago :)), one with my Hunter’s Safety Course notes, and one with papers from a Bible study we girls had done. This last one held something within its binder that I had completely forgotten about: a letter, written in early 2005, that I had never sent. Now that I’ve seen it again, I remember sitting on the floor in my room one night, busily writing this to a good friend. The letter read:
March 28, 2005
Hi! How are you doing? I’m doing great! Did you have a good Easter? We had a great and beautiful day, which helped me to constantly remember why we really have Easter.
I have a prayer request that is very important: Terri Schiavo, a lady from Florida, is being starved to death. She has major brain damage, and some people say she is just human waste. She doesn’t need any life support, all except for a feeding tube, because she can’t swallow. Her husband (who is very wicked) says she wouldn’t want to live like this, but there is no written document that says Terri said that. Her parents want to take care of her, and another lady offered her husband a million dollars if he would just hand her over to her parents, but he refused it. The Supreme Court ordered her tube taken out, and she has been starving for 10 days. Daddy said that she would probably die this week, but I know that if it is God’s will, He will spare her. All the people who are ordering her to die and the doctors and nurses who are wrongfully carrying out the order, are committing murder. A court law says that a judge can’t order murder, and that’s exactly what they are doing, even though they don’t view it as murder. Please have you and your family pray for her, as well as for her broken hearted parents.
Write back soon!
Like me, has the memory of the unlawful murder of Terri Schiavo been lost in your memory? When Daddy first came home, in 2005, with the news about her, and read us an article about the scenario from the Vision Forum website, it left a huge impact on me. I was 10 at the time. I wrote this letter to my friend, who was 11, but never sent it because, after having my parents read it, they told me that this was making national news and she probably already knew. Looking back, I’m amazed at God’s hand in even something so small. I would write the letter and stick it into a notebook that would get lost amongst many others on an unnoticed shelf, and then find it right after writing an essay on life, and shortly before the 6th anniversary of Terri’s tragic death.
So, have you forgotten the immense value that our Creator places on human life?
How should this reminder affect your actions?
It’s time for those who profess the name of Christ, the Giver and Sustainer of all life, to take a stand for it once again.
Life. A common word in our everyday language, but have you ever stopped to ponder exactly what it means?
Perhaps for some, thoughts about life abound in the spring, for that is when the silent, cold, harshness of winter is slowly transformed into scenes bursting with activity, warmth, and beauty. Perhaps when your birthday rolls around each year, you contemplate just how quickly your life is passing. Or maybe you think of life as, for the first time, you cuddle a precious, perfect little baby, or stand by the coffin of a loved one whose life has just been terminated by illness.
Whatever life means to you, and in whichever form you choose to think of it, all life can be traced to a particular source – a common denominator – which can be encountered with almost no effort. The greatest tragedy of the ages is that many spend their days without ever discovering this vital center, the very essence of why they exist. But the evidence is all around them!
The meaning of life is found in the Author of Life, the Almighty One Who spoke it into existence, gave His own life for the sake of those who were dying, conquered death by coming back to life, and even now sustains the life that is within every living thing! “For in him we live, and move, and have our being…” (Acts 17:28) During His life on earth, Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” (John 14:6) He alone holds the key to life eternal, as well the purpose for which we are here.
Have you ever thought of life from God’s perspective? For instance, when you think of human life, do you realize that, because it was created by God, it is sacred and a gift from Him? How often we violate this truth! It should make our hearts burn with anguish when we hear and witness how our wayward culture seeks to thwart life, which is so immensely precious, beautiful, and valued by our God! Do we realize that it is our pride that has caused us to devise every sort of biomedical nightmare imaginable to destroy what God has sanctified, because we view it as inconvenient, expensive, or “our right?” Life must be defended. When we try to manipulate or annihilate the blessing of life, we are unconsciously destroying ourselves and rejecting one of greatest gifts God has given to man.
Scripture is also clear that the words we speak communicate either death or life to the hearers. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18:21) From this verse we can clearly perceive that the words we say in everyday conversation are tremendously puissant. Can you recall a time that you have been deeply hurt by a careless comment, a cutting joke, or the slicing sarcasm in someone’s tone? The force of their spoken words is obvious from the sting you might still feel at the memory. But the best news of all is that positive, uplifting words are even more compelling, because the power of an almighty, loving, compassionate God is behind them. Some of the noblest deeds in history have been possible simply because the doer of them was inspired by a kind word of encouragement. I am sure you can testify that, in the past, when someone has paused with a thoughtful word for you in the midst of a difficult project, you returned to it with greater enthusiasm and excitement than ever before! Words like these are refreshing, more so than a cup of cool water in the scorching heat of summer. Make it your goal to use your lips to be communicator of life – a fountain of blessing and inspiration. You can never know the lasting results they might have!
The greatest aspect of life, however, can be traced to the moment when an individual decides to take Christ’s death for sin, the ultimate payment, as his own, repents of his sin, and receives the sure promise of eternal life someday in Heaven. At this point, abundant life is imparted to the new believer, meaning that he is given a purpose and a special meaning for which to devote his entire being! Now on this journey, often known as the Christian Life, this individual can and must come daily to Jesus for the renewal of this life, which He has promised to bestow when earnestly sought for. This hidden energy should then be showered upon others – a living manifestation of the love, goodness, grace, power, and working of God.
As you go about your everyday duties, take a moment to contemplate your life, and then pause to acknowledge the Giver of Life and praise Him for the blessings He so richly lavishes on you, His beloved creation.
“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
Have you ever considered that fellowship with other believers is sort-of like an energy swap? The power and joy of the Lord working in the lives of His children generates this unique, beautiful strength, and so when families get together for small periods of refreshment, and each individual has a focus first on Christ, and then on how he can bless those around him, the possibilities for the ways this energy can be exchanged are immeasurable!
What a privilege to have the Wilkes Team here for a few days!! The entire visit was truly one ginormous energy exchange (cross between ‘gigantic’ and ‘enormous’ :)), as each individual shared freely from the abundant stores God has given. Gifts of testimony, praise, song, creativity, enthusiasm, and service were unrelentingly passed from person to person, until, in the end, we all came away completely filled up and ready to press on in life’s race.
One particular highlight for everyone on this visit was the night when our wonderful parents took the opportunity for a “double date,” leaving the other 19 of us at home alone. 🙂 We declared it to be National Opposite Night, where we ate piping-hot soup from a cup with our least-trained hand, drank from bowls, and ate dessert on the kitchen floor. Ahhhh…. memories! 🙂
Another important feature of our days together was all the time we spent reading the Word, discussing what we’d read and many other aspects of the Christian life, singing the praise of our God, and coming before Him in prayer. These four elements helped to keep His goodness continually before our eyes, and kept us acknowledging Him in all of our ways. (Proverbs 3)
Thank you, once again, Wilkes Team, for being so willing to let the Lord use you to influence, encourage, and refresh us. May we all go forward with the mindset of being fountains of energy, bubbling with the joy of Jesus – so that others will be drawn to Him, and He gets the glory!
My, how time flies! We love keeping in touch with so many of you… leave a comment! 😀
On the day after Thanksgiving, we had the chance to go on a family hunting trip in Georgia on some of our relatives’ land. When we got there, we sat in our 12-person, brown hunting-blind in the middle of the hay field. Daddy had a gun, and the rest of us watched for deer. During the afternoon, we killed two deer and a pig!! When Daddy shot the gun, he was out of the van, and for the second deer and the pig he propped his gun on one of the hay bales in the field. With the deer, he didn’t take any extra ammo, though, so he ran out! He signaled to Mommy and she went softly scooting toward him with more. The rest of us were still sitting in the van watching the whole thing, and we thought that she looked like a pioneer woman from years ago, helping her husband kill food for the family. The deer ran away when he shot it, and it was almost dark, so we had to track it with flashlights. We had so much fun! Daddy, Mommy, and the little ones gutted it, while Amanda, Jessica, Kathryn, Victoria,and I walked in the dark back to where the pig was. We took a strap and tied it to the feet. Amanda, Kathryn, and Victoria had fun dragging it while Jessi took pictures and I guided them with the light. When we got it there, we wrapped it in a plastic raincoat and put it in the back of the van. We had to put the two deer on top of the van!
I am glad Daddy had this wonderful idea! We enjoyed the trip getting there, and LOVED hunting together. (Gutting the deer and having a science experiment was fun too! ) I can’t wait to get to do it again!