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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gran is Going


Going, Gone...

To Zambia to tell the African people the Good News of Jesus Christ. The best news ever. That Jesus died for them.

"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life." John 3:16

She will also be teaching women. Teaching them to teach children, to share the gospel, to share their lives with one another. Please pray. Pray for safety. Pray for souls. Pray for salvation of the African people.

"The Lord does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

Pray for angels to war in the heavenly realms for the life of these souls. They will be in the "bush" in an area where voodoo and witchcraft are common practices. They will be holding a camp that hundreds of people will walk hundreds of miles to come hear about Jesus. Pray.

"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:11-12

Pray for her beautiful feet.

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news." Isaiah 52:7

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Family Fun

***Update*** This is at Grand Station (used to be Wolf Pen Bowling). They also have laser tag and cool video games. Such a fun place for family fun in the a/c!!!


We went to play Glow-in-the-Dark Miniature Golf. It was a blast and Hunter hit a hole in one!!! Look out, we may have a pro golfer on our hands. Go Hunter!

Other than that, the girls acted silly and tried to distract Hunter from his coaching lessons with Daddy. But, Hunter listened, tried and made a hole in one! Oh wait, I already said that.

Glow-in-the-dark golf is fun and air conditioned!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We heart S. Padre

Way back in June when summer was still new (and somewhat cool) we took a trip to South Padre. It was my first trip here and we loved it! We piled and then squeezed (literally) into the car and left as the sun was rising.

Leaving Palmer was hard but, well, diaper-free. Need I say more?
We went with some friends. The kids had a blast together but I think the adults had more fun! Sitting by the pool each night until they kicked us out, we played the ultimate spades tournament. (Of course, the Smith team was victorious but winning's not all that important, right?)

This trip was not slow paced at all but amidst all the fun and frenzied activities, I found rest. It was extremely relaxed even though we didn't sleep very much.

Things we recommend are the sailing, snorkel tour. Fun for all ages!



Parasailing, not for the faint of heart! Julia was begging to go again, while she was still in the air!

Mexico. Heckling, bartering, margaritas, souvenirs fun, fun, fun and hot, hot, hot!


The beach. After you lug all your junk there, it's pretty comfy and, well, cheap and, after all, it is the beach.



Touring the lighthouse and visiting the sea rescue was fun. We saw some interesting stuff and took some great pictures.






We watched dolphins on a late afternoon cruise. The kids loved the pirate stories! Can't wait for the pirate ship to open and start tours. Would be so much fun!

Stay at a hotel that offers free breakfast. The kids might get tired of it after the first day or so, but at least it's one meal you know they'll eat (because you won't leave the hotel if they don't) and it has already been paid for somewhere!Things we recommend but could barely afford.

Eating pizza by the pool. (We could've eaten Outback at home for the price of delivery.) This was worth it because, well, it was convenient!

This was one of our best vacations and makes me look forward to the future with big kids. Fun stuff!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Giants


Friday the girls concluded a drama camp called Camp Narnia. It was at a local church where they learned everything from set and costume design to acting, singing and dancing technique.

Their musical was called "Facing the Giants" and was the story of David and Goliath with a modern day twist to it. I had a soldier and a green monster in the play.

We had some great talks about the giants we face in daily life. The "scariness" of laying in a dark, quiet (except for the weird noises) room at night waiting to fall asleep, dancing on the front row of the stage (when she'd really rather be hiding behind the set) and being alone in your own room all by yourself were some of the giants we conquered through prayer this week.

This summer we've been placing emphasis on courage in our family.

God's Word says, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)

and

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)

Andrew and I have decided that when you act in bravery in our family, there will always be a reward. One Sunday at the pool, it was milkshakes for everyone who tried something new. Sliding down a faster slide, jumping off a higher board and swimming to a deeper depth were all done with knees shaking and mouths watering. Another time it was a Sonic happy hour for those who swam in deep water without life jackets.

Although, our battle with fear will never end, we can certainly develop strength, courage and boldness so as to fight it victoriously more easily, more often.

I hope they learn this lesson now.

This week, I put on my armor, got down on my knees and fought some of my own giants. The rewards were freedom, joy and unity. Intangible and priceless yet very filling and very satisfying.

God always equips us for the things He calls us to do.

Bravery.

Courage.

What giants do you need to face this week?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Like Socks

***photo compliments of Sarajane's Etsy Store polyarts.wordpress.com/2007/05/04/socks-appeal/***

Today I am praising God! He has knocked my socks off yet again by taking something I so desperately messed up and fixed it, perfected it, mended it and made it whole.

If you remember my last post on a restored friendship, you need to hear this story too.
I have always believed God could heal relationships.

"I forgive you" are the magic words, right? We say them and we move on but rarely, at least in my life, has God restored unity in heart, in spirit, in soulmates, after those words have been spoken. I forgive but I don't really talk to, share with or ever hang out around my "friends" again. Even though I still l.o.v.e. them, my actions speak deadness. My heart remains broken with love but is too stilled by the fear of further rejection to keep showing it or (gasp) to pursue those who have hurt me.

I don't even really think that until recently I actually believed that unity and oneness in spirit could be restored in a relationship among girlfriends. I think that I always thought that even though I might fellowship with the friend again, I wouldn't feel the same depth of love and closeness. Until yesterday I have never experienced anywhere near the "forgetting" of sins that we are told of over and over about in Scripture.

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:12)

I could always see the transgressions against me no matter where I looked. Beyond that, I could always see my own shortcomings, surely something must be terribly wrong with me that "she" would ultimately reject me. Oh, the lies!

Oh, it may start out as, "Look what she did to me." But, after the tears dried up, it would always become, "Look how I messed this up!" Which would result in me giving up and turning away.
I had a hard time wanting something (a relationship) that was messed up, had baggage or where I wouldn't be treated "right."

I am learning, after all these years, that broken and made whole again is beautiful. New and perfect always, at some point, becomes broken. It's the making all things new that yields character and deep beauty. It is what grace looks like.

"...the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Here's where God is not only doing it once in my life, He's driving the point home.

He took a friendship that was so deep when it cut, it cut deeply to the quick. It bled.

Things were said. Words like a piles of laundry were unloaded in each other's laps.

He sorted it all out, like socks. Perfectly matching up the useful and tucking them safely away for wearing. Tossing out the mismatched, torn up and unusable never to be bothered with again.

Never to get in the way when getting dressed. Never to distract from the duty at hand.

Perfectly, neatly, gently and full of purpose His hands worked. Sorting and matching then tucking away. Until today.

The drawer of my heart was tugged and opened. Its contents were so neat, so useful, so ready for this purpose concerning this relationship. It was beautiful.

Two relationships in two months. Seriously, it's like we never were apart.

When I saw her yesterday. I saw love. I saw beauty. I saw all the things I've missed. I saw all the things this relationship was meant to be. What I did not see were the lies I listened to, the hurt I felt. I felt connection. I felt life. What I did not feel was betrayal or rejection. I saw grace. I felt grace. I touched grace.

It's like new...and improved.

We were matched to be friends...like socks.

Useful, when sorted correctly by the hands of the Master.
Yesterday I saw grace...
Like socks.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes


Here is why I wasn't around yesterday.

I got a new hair-do and a bouncy, blonde attitude. What a change.

Six inches of change.

It's drastic. I L.O.V.E. it!!!

Have a hair-iffic day!