Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - Summer Slips Away

This week's events included
  • Funeral visitation for one of the greatest prayer warriors I've ever known.  Ms. Judy was such a special lady!
  • A zoo trip with a friend of mine from college and her delightful daughter.
  • We attended a park day with the new homeschool co-op we will be participating in this year.
  • We visited Jane and Myles, so I could get my "baby fix."
  • The kiddos played with Grandma & Grandpa while Jon and I attended an AWAA Board Meeting, shopped for baby shower supplies and a baby gift, and enjoyed lunch at Old Chicago Pizza.
  • Visited Kentucky Aviation Museum.
  • Baby Shower for lil' Myles.
In our homeschool this week…
Haha!  Teaser... we aren't starting officially until August 8th.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
Planners get homeschool Moms all in a tizzy.  You have to find the absolute perfect, be-all-end-all planner for your homeschool.  Trust me, I've been looking for quite some time.  I have yet to find what I like, so I created my own.  I'm excited to give it a whirl and see if it truly meets my needs.  My advice is to create what you can't find.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
  • Possibly another zoo trip.
  • CHIL Teacher's Meeting/Park Play Day for kids
  • HYPE Gym & Swim
  • CHIL Kick-Off Picnic
My favorite thing this week was…
Mark and Jane's baby shower.  Words can't express how absolutely thrilled I am that Myles is here.  I LOVE seeing Jane's Proud Momma smile shine.  Not to mention Myles is super cute and fun to hold!

Questions/thoughts I have…
Is the summer truly slipping away?  If it will be cooler, I'm okay with that even though my homeschool plans are far from finished.

I’m reading…
Bible in 90 Days - I'm behind :(  I've got to buckle down and catch up.

I’m cooking…
not a thing.  Raw veggies have been a huge hit this week.  We've enjoyed zucchini, squash, red, yellow, & orange peppers, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, and radishes at most every evening meal.  Actually, I'm the only one who likes the radishes and that's ok.  More for me :)

I’m grateful for…
our incredible adoption agency America World.  We love supporting and serving on AWAA's behalf!  Looking forward to even more opportunities in the future.

A photo to share…
Our favorite photo op at the zoo!  A great day for the kiddos with their new friend!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Homeschool Magazine Freebie

Read It Online Today!

Take a look at the brand new Summer digital edition of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. TOS is offering this digital issue of the magazine totally free with no strings attached. Enjoy this free gift from TOS—no registration or email address required to view the magazine! Take a peek HERE. Then share the link with your friends by clicking on the share button at the top of the magazine pages.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Orphan Sunday Launch

Today, July 27, 2011, is the OFFICIAL launch date for Orphan Sunday 2011 which will be held November 6, 2011.  Today, all information on the website is complete and up to date.  I encourage everyone to spend some time navigating the website becoming familiar with all that is available - including this powerful 2 minute video.

I encourage every church to host an Orphan Sunday event. For some, the word "EVENT" strikes fear, but please know that we don't consider an event only to be something huge and extravagant. An Orphan Sunday event at your church may be a small group of people getting together to pray, showing the video above in your church service, having a school supply or shoe drive for underprivileged children, making child sponsorship packets available, etc. There is NO RIGHT OR WRONG way to have an event and NO EVENT TOO BIG OR TOO SMALL. Orphan Sunday is quite simply a joint effort to raise awareness among churches for the need to act in obedience to God's command to DEFEND the cause of the fatherless! At least for ONE DAY, let us raise ONE VOICE for ONE PURPOSE!

Do you find your interest peaked or your heart stirred?  Are you convinced that an EVENT is doable?  If so, you are probably wondering where to start.  I point you to the EVENT IDEAS page.  You will find simple to elaborate real-life examples.  You will also be introduced to a brand new addition this year, Partnership Packages, which pair you with a trusted ministry to help you build an Orphan Sunday idea.  It's an event in a box so to speak, and you can rest assured that the Christian Alliance for Orphans partner that you choose will be totally devoted to the cause of the orphan.

Another section of the website, you will want to explore is the RESOURCES page.  There you will find FAQs, PSAs, videos, prayer and Bible study guides, sermon outlines, songs and hymns, PowerPoints, bulletin inserts, posters and flyers, web banners, and t-shirts.  You will most definitely find items of great use on this page! 

Also new for Orphan Sunday 2011, The Orphan's Table allows you the opportunity to partake in a typical orphan's meal.  Experiences are lasting and memorable! leave an imprint on the hearts of those involved in this meal as they pray for the orphans who barely survive on something similar.  This could be especially impacting paired with viewing the Live Event, a one-hour webcast connecting Christians worldwide in guided prayer for the most vulnerable and a time of worship led by Jon Egan of the Desperation Band.  The webcast will stream live on the Orphan Sunday website, November 6, 2011 at 6 PM Central Time.

I pray that you will approach your church leaders, Sunday School class, small group, women's ministry, etc. to get involved in Orphan Sunday.  Get an event planned.  If you need help, feel free to contact me, or find a coordinator in your area.  Then, be sure and get your event added to the MAP.  We want to feel the whole world with red pins.  I'm already so encouraged by the number of international events on the map... scroll down and read the list!  Kenya is on the ball!!!! God is sooo good!
orphansunday-square banner

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fondue - FUN - Friends

A 2 hour drive up and a 2 hour drive back - totally worth it to spend a little over 6 hours with sweet college friends.  Of these 6 smiling faces, I had not seen 4 in a couple years because I missed out on last year's get-together.  2 of these lovely ladies I hadn't seen in 11 years... yes, that translates We're OLD!  The majority of us turned 32 this year, but I'm the baby, not that I remind everyone of that or anything :)

Aletha's parents were sooo brave to allow our crazy brunch to overtake their home.  With fondue pots, a ridiculous amount of groceries, snicker bar salad, and plenty of chocolate in hand, once we finally made it to the table, laughter and good times were had by all!  Some traditions leave no room for improvement!

We now represent 4 states, various careers, thriving marriages, incredible kids, and are involved in many different areas of ministry.  It was such a blessing to be our goofball selves from years gone by, but even more special to see the ways we've each grown and how God is working in and through us.  He is sooo good!

Looking forward to the next reunion :-)



Love ya ladies!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lickin' Lizard

Yesterday, Silly Safaris, based out of Indiana, left Hoosier country for the Bluegrass and brought some fine animal friends along as well.  My animal lovin' crew were thrilled to see Coyote Chris and all his critters.  A hare, coatimundi, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, blue-tongued skink, snake, and an owl were all in attendance.  Coyote Chris had an "Owen Wilson" kind of vibe and was quite the actor.  For the children's sake, he over-dramatized everything... which worked well until Caleb got called down to the floor.

Caleb has had a fascination with lizards for quite some time, so he eagerly waved his raised hand to be chosen to come and pet the blue-tongued skink.  He managed to catch the attention of Coyote Chris.    Decked out in his swimming dud's (we were headed to the YMCA pool next), Caleb proudly went to the gym floor to have a close encounter with Bob, the skink.  Oh yes, petting was great fun, and he reported Bob to be incredibly smooth.

Then, as Coyote Chris was handling the lizard, he got him close enough to his face to be licked, and then pandomonium ensued.   He squealed like a girl, acted as if he couldn't get it to stop, and performed great antics trying to get the lizard off of his face.  All of this was to the delight of the audience, but a very nervous Caleb taking it all in beside him.  Coyote Chris, now composed, polled the audience to see if they would like to see Bob lick Caleb and the other volunteer on the nose to which the crowd screamed a resounding yes.  Caleb's face turned red, the tears came, and he kept looking up at me shaking his head no as I tried to reassure him that he was ok... all the while Coyote Chris was oblivious.  Volunteer 1 allowed the face licking and then Coyote Chris turned to see my very scared little boy.  To his credit, he quickly changed his game plan.  He asked if Caleb would like Bob to lick him on the hand and that compromise was acceptable.

Thankfully, Caleb left the scene unscathed, still LOVES animals, and recounted the entire 50 minute show to Daddy, Mamaw, and Papaw.  I'm proud of him, and I must admit... a Face-Licking Lizards does't sound overly enjoyable to me either.  I don't care what color tongue he had!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

3rd Thursday Thought - Mom & Me

The July Hearts at Home Blog Hop Topic is:  How are you like your mom?  How are you different?

  • Enjoy the guilty pleasure of reality tv: Survivor, The Biggest Loser, Big Brother, etc.
  • Dominate baby/wedding shower games.  We can unscramble words and remember objects like no one's business!
  • Feel the need to correct poor grammar.  It used to drive me crazy, but now I do it to others!
  • Have high expectations for ourselves and others.  Mediocrity is not acceptable.
  • Support our kiddos interests.  In raising 3 children, Mom's taxi drove us to dance rehearsals, piano lessons, play practice, choir concerts, academic competitions, ballgames, cheerleading competitions, etc.  Currently, with 3 of my own, I'm already going here, there, and everywhere, and yes, I want more children :-) 
  • SAHM. Growing up this is not something I ever saw myself doing, but after Caleb was born, it's the only place I wanted to be. With the addition of Jeremiah and Rachel, it was more clear than ever that this Momma needed and wanted to be home.  I get it now :-)  Thanks Mom for staying home with us! 
  • Mom is a football fan - I don't get the game, nor do I care to learn.
  • My Mom is a Buckeye through and through, and even though I was born there and lived in Ohio the first few months of my life, I don't claim it.  I'm proud to be a KY gal.
  • My mom is a domesticated individual and actually enjoys sewing, crafting, baking, etc.  I am affectionately referred to as domestically challenged and kitchen illiterate.  Not only am I lousy at traditional homemaking tasks, I don't enjoy them either.  I prefer restaurants and crafty stores where I can buy other people's handiwork.
  • I'm comfortable with a microphone in hand singing or speaking to groups.  Mom has never been one to take the stage.
  • I enjoy traveling to other countries, experiencing different cultures, being involved in mission work, advocating for orphans, and taking on social justice issues.
  • I'm definitely more of an extrovert.  I enjoy people and living in community with others.  Jon says I'm incredibly nosy and like to meddle.  I see it more as I'm investing in people, I like to know their stories, who they are, etc.  I easily make friends and enjoy being with others.
Likes and differences aside, I love my Mom!  She sacrificed a lot to stay at home while we were growing.  Most importantly, along with Dad, she set an example for all of us to follow and impressed upon us the importance of our faith and involvement in church.  Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Women of Faith - Here I Come!!!

IMAGINE the excitement when I opened my email this morning to learn that I have been selected as a blogger for the Women of Faith event in Indianapolis, IN.  IMAGINE how incredible this all girls weekend will be!  IMAGINE the phenomenal biblical teaching and worship!  IMAGINE you are there with me! 
Most importantly, IMAGINE what God will do at the event - it's more than we can IMAGINE. 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ~ Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

Seriously, if you are available the weekend of August 19-20th and are within driving distance, you are going to want to be in Indianapolis.  Check out this line-up of speakers:  Sheila Walsh, Luci Swindoll, Lisa Harper, and Angie Smith. If that isn't enough to wet your whistle (which I know it is), then take a look at the musical guests:  Mary Mary and one of my ALL-TIME faves Natalie Grant.  Shear bonus - drama will be performed by Nicole Johnson, and then, one gentleman gets to slip on to the platform as a special guest, Dr. Henry Cloud.

I'm really looking forward to this girls weekend away. It promises to be a time of refreshing, renewal, and encouragement, yet, I know it will challenge me and spur me on in the faith. I'm praying now that God will have a special message for my ears and that I will be alert and attentive to all HE has to say.

***Thank you BookSneeze for the opportunity to attend the Women of  Faith event as a guest blogger.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Voyage Begins...


I'm very excited to be a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2011-2012 Homeschool Crew.  This is the TOS Crew's 4th voyage, and I'm a newbie on deck.  I've already learned so much from those who have filled this role before me, and I'm eager to set sail. 

Just today, I learned of two products that are headed my way for review...  a book to read and a game to play with the little mateys.  Throughout the year, all kinds of goodies will show up at my doorstep and in my mailbox.  Know that I will use each of these products in our homeschool and will share with you my honest review.  I'm hoping to find lots of treasures in this big, blue sea that will not only benefit my family but be pure gold for others too.    

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Streamers & Poppers

Not uncommon for a mid-July evening, we gathered together to celebrate the birthdays of Jon's mom and sister-in-law.  Mary and Beth chose a pizza party to the delight of all... especially the 5 and younger crowd.  However, this year a new dimension was added to the July birthday celebration.  Mary had plenty of noise-maker/kid-friendly fireworks on hand, so we headed to the front porch to get the wiggles out with exploding streamers and the sounds of pop, Pop, POP!      

 Following Daddy's demonstration, Caleb gives it a try and the streamers fly!

When it comes to poppers if throwing doesn't accomplish a LOUD pop - then STOMP!  It worked for Caleb.  Unfortunately, most of my pictures came out blurry because of the flurry of activity.  So you'll have to take my word for it, but Rachel was hilarious.  She'd get a whole handful of poppers and throw them at once to hear a BIG pop.  Jeremiah put all of his on the ground and jumped on them.  Cousins Allison and Josh got in on all the party action too.  Hmmm... wonder if this is a new tradition?

Friday, July 15, 2011

SSMT Verse 14

The verse I will be memorizing the next couple weeks will serve as a reminder that I should be satisfied each and every new day by the unfailing love of my heavenly Father.  Seriously, how could I not be?  Still, I believe, we all find ourselves discontent at times whether it be due to circumstances, outside influences, our season of life, etc.  I don't want to find myself in that state! Therefore, I'm praying that I will relish and savor, rest and bask in, and be humbled and overwhelmed by God's unfailing love.  May it be the joyful song all the days of my life! 

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Psalm 90:14 (NIV)

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - Friends & Family

This week's events included...
  • A visit to Mama Spaulding's to have dinner with Mama S., my parents, Adam & Val, and Tommy & Carolyn.
  • The kiddos spent the night with Adam & Val enjoying the slip and slide, sprinkler, park, movies, smores, pizza, and DQ.  (I think Auntie Val & Uncle Adam were pretty exhausted and probably convinced they will never have 3 children.)
  • We enjoyed an ice cream social at the park with our wonderful Southland Adoption Care Group. 
  • Tonight, we have a combined birthday party for my MIL and SIL.  Who knew Mary and Beth would opt for a pizza party?  Hmmm... trying to recapture their youth?  Nope - they just shouldn't have to cook and well we know, I'm inept, but I can pick up pizza like noone's business!
My favorite thing this week was…
holding William Myles Redmon!  This precious baby was born in the wee hours Thursday morning and through the miracle of adoption he has the most incredible parents.  While I enjoyed holding a bitty baby again, seeing my BFF Jane hold HER son was by far the ultimate highlight of my week.  Praising God and thanking Him for his continued blessings.  Every good and perfect gift comes from above - and no doubt, Myles is a little piece of heaven!
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing...
  • Tomorrow, we celebrate Miss Libby's 4th birthday.  I'm sure my crew will be thrilled with the "candy" theme. 
  • Sunday, we're back to Southland.  The plan is to attend the 10 a.m. service this week. 
  • Then, the agenda for the week includes a zoo trip with friends, a library program, and HYPE gym/swim at the YMCA.  Also, I'm heading to Ashland, KY Saturday to spend the day with girlfriends from college.  I'm looking forward to catching up, lots of laughs, yummy food, and probably "The Wedding Dance."
Things I’m working on…
  • Homeschool plans for the year... I feel like I should have much more accomplished than I do.  I think I'm in denial that August will soon be here.
  • Planning for Orphan Sunday and working to get more KY churches involved!
  • A Baby Shower for friends
I’m reading…
  • The Bible ~  Mom's Toolbox is again hosting the Bible in 90 Days Challenge.  Since on average the daily reading requires an hour of time, I've committed not to read anything else unless the day's assignment is complete.  This challenge continues through October 8th.  Praying for great success!
  • Orphanology by Tony Merida and Rick Morton
I’m grateful for…
incredible family and friends and the time I am able to spend with them.

Photos to share...
I didn't have my camera at our adoption group ice cream social so I grabbed these pics off of Facebook. (Thanks Kelly!)  Kiddos had such a blast!
Rachel digging!  Everyone needed a bath when we got home :)

Jeremiah and Caleb had fun playing Transformers and SuperHeroes with the boys!

A tired/sticky bunch after a great evening of icecream & play!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Off and Reading!

Bible in 90 DaysThe Bible that is - seriously, could there possibly be material any better???  Today began the Bible in 90 Days Challenge.  At last report, I'm reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation over the next 3 months with 1123 of my closest cyber friends.  Hahaha!  I say that jokingly, but actually, I've already connected with new people.  Want to join????  There's still time!  Click HERE.

I believe, community is absolutely key in completing the challenge.  During my last attempt, I neglected my group - especially when I fell behind.  I had hoped my mentor would have reached out to me and realized I was floundering, but I'm an adult, responsible for my own actions (or in this case inaction) so no one to blame but myself. 

Due to some technical glitches today on the MomsToolbox site and even during the Twitter party, I'm unsure as to the response of the group I'm reading with and haven't "met" them all.  It is my prayer that participation will be 100% and we can spur one another on.  Encouragement and prayer are such great gifts to give and receive.

Today's reading came from Genesis 1-16.  It is reminiscent of Sunday School classes and flannel graph characters: Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, and Lot.  Genesis is home of these church story classics.  As adults, I think, it is easy to say, oh we've been there done that, and chalk it up to something for children.  However, something I took away from Ken Ham who spoke at the CHEK conference, we need to change our mentality... not stories because the connotation is fiction.  The words in Genesis are historical accounts.

From these chapters, here are my take aways...
  1. There is nothing random about creation.  God is a God or order and design.  See the direct correlation: days 1, 2, 3 create the environment in which the creations of days 4, 5, and 6 live.
  2. Even from the beginning, God is moving us from darkness into light.
  3. God introduces the idea of Sabbath.
  4. God is Creator, and all HE creates is good.
  5. Man and woman are created in the very image of God.
  6. Sin is not a creation of God.
  7. Eve is the reason we now need epidurals :-)  Adam gets the blame for thorn bushes and poison ivy!
  8. Genesis depicts the Fall of Man and our need for the gospel... a Savior... Adoption and Redemption!
  9. Living for God goes against the grain of the world...  they may call the ark and it's builder crazy, but they are the ones looking for the lifeboats when it is too late.
  10. Covenant relationships between God and Man are introduced. 
  11. God's promises never fail.
  12. We are one race - the HUMAN race.
  13. God is a God who pours out tremendous blessings on His people.
  14. Age, ability, talents aren't what God esteems, He desires our obedience.
  15. Women... we are all about the timeline, aren't we?!  Girls, let's learn a lesson from impatient Sarah and the predicament she created when sending Abraham her maidservant, Hagar .  Ladies, oh, how we I must learn to wait on the Lord!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Orphan Sunday - Coming to the Bluegrass!

An initiative of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, Orphan Sunday will be held in churches globally November 6, 2011.  I'm excited to work on the Orphan Sunday - Kentucky team.  Through emails, tweets, a conference call, and personal phone calls, I've been able to connect with four wonderful ladies with hearts for orphans.  We are banding together to get the Orphan Sunday message and materials in the hands of at least 25 new churches in Kentucky as well as maintaining events at churches who have participated in years past.

Does your church participate in Orphan Sunday?  If you are in Kentucky and you'd like to learn more, have your church participate, set up an event, bounce ideas off someone, etc., please contact me.  I'd love to speak with you!  Not in Kentucky but interested in bringing Orphan Sunday to your church? Feel free to give me a shout.  I can definitely help walk you through the website and give you some ideas.  Also, there are coordinators in each state, contact them.  I know they would LOVE to speak with you.

I encourage everyone to check out the website... you'll find videos, testimonials, bible studies, devotionals, powerpoints, sermon outlines, flyers, web banners, etc.  Tons of resources!!!!  147+ million orphans have no voice...  One Day... Be The Voice... Act With Purpose!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Return of The Homeschool Mother's Journal

A few times during last school year, I participate in a weekly meme hosted by The Homeschool Chick.  I believe, I actually linked up a couple times.  As my goal is to be more intentional in teaching this year... (It's 1st grade this year.  We're in the big time now!) I think this will be a great way for me to keep a record of some of the things we do as well and my thoughts at the time.  Now, this is the summer edition, so the topics aren't as school oriented as they will be in the coming weeks.

In my life this week…
We are transitioning as a family to what our "new normal" will be.  Jon is no longer balancing school, full-time ministry, and a 40 hour work week as an RN in the operating room.  Do we have our new routing locked in place and know exactly what a typical week will look like?  No, but who am I kidding?  When have we ever been typical?  Anyway, I assume it will take us a few weeks to get adjusted to this new way of living. 

This week's events included...

  • Our GCC farewell and God and Country service
  • Fireworks
  • A Playdate and Lunch with friends
  • Seeing the CARS 2 at our local theater as a family
  • Storytime at PSPL
  • Jack and The Gentle Giant Puppet Show
  • HYPE Gym & Swim
  • Dinner with the Redmon's
  • Light Will Rise Brunch for Mom
I am inspired by…
The community that is forming among the Ethiopia Adoptive Families through Light Will Rise.  We have only just begun, but the enthusiasm and great response we have had is so very encouraging.  I'm excited to "do life" with these great families, but most importantly, I'm looking forward to working with these great people to meet the needs of vulnerable children as well as address the root causes of the orphan crisis.  I pray God works mightily through this growing community.  He is the Father to the fatherless, and we seek to serve Him always!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing...
The upcoming week has us celebrating birthdays of family and friends, enjoying an ice cream social with our adoption care group, and visiting my Mama Spaulding.

Things I’m working on…
Plans for the upcoming school year, organizing materials, and purchasing the last few supplies and curriculum still needed.

I’m reading…
It's Not Okay With Me by Janine Maxwell
Orphanology by Tony Merida and Rick Morton

I’m grateful for…
Windows and doors God is opening allowing my family to be involved in new ministries.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Puppets are Creepy

Madcap Logo A confession...  I've always found puppets to be a bit creepy.  Others are bothered, some so much as frightened by and phobic of clowns.  Not me... it is puppets that give me the heebie-jeebies.  I'm not gravely or even remotely afraid of them.  I just find them very disturbing visually, and I often find the shows themselves quite boring.  Yet, oh the things I do for my children.  Uh-huh, you guessed it!  We went to a puppet show.

Jack and the Gentle GiantAs part of the library's summer programming, Madcap Puppets performed Jack and the Gentle Giant.  In the program, Jack, his beanstalk, and his two sons encounter three giants. In doing so, the audience is taken on quite the journey. An Iriquois legend, a Czech folktalk, and a Brothers Grimm Story from Germany to be exact.

Believe it or not, the program was not only tolerable but at times quite entertaining.  There was a mix of acting, puppetry, audience participation, and a decent amount of humor.  For the most part, my kiddos were a captive audience.  That's impressive!  I even paid attention while holding to my belief that puppets are creepy.  Check out the pic I snagged of the larger than life giant head that poked up from behind the backdrop.... ewww!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Africa is NOT a country!

Oh sweet library lady with all the cool crafts who I usually love, I must admit you REALLY irked me today.  Granted, I understand that you are presenting a program to 4 and 5 year olds.  However, misinformation isn't warranted... even if they don't realize it.  Oh my... maybe you don't realize it?  Surely, you do and you were oversimplifying?  Could that be?  Even still - WRONG!!!

  1. AFRICA IS NOT a country!  It's a CONTINENT!
  2. They cannot be used to describe the people of Africa.  Do you have any idea how many people groups reside in Africa?  Each group is unique regarding customs, beliefs, appearance, and history.
  3. The entire continent IS NOT hot and dry.  Do you not know about the lengthy rainy season many parts of Africa experience?
  4. You will not see giraffes, elephants, and kudu roaming freely in every square inch of Africa.
  5. Speaking a few Swahili words and counting by rote in an unidentified East African language after a woman on a CD does not mean you have spoke African.  Seriously, African IS NOT a language. 
Sorry... I stifled this rant in the library, so I had to exercise it somewhere.  Thanks to all of you in blog land for allowing me to vent.  Stereotypes have always made my skin crawl.  I don't believe these to be malicious in any way... just uninformed.  Most likely, just not contemplated or given much thought.  Yes, the audience was children, but I believe, they deserve to be taught accurately.  Information can meet their level of understanding and still be factual.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Annually, we enjoy the fireworks launched at Capital View Park.  However, our prime vantage point for viewing has always been at the Veteran's Memorial.  We tweaked it a bit this year due to limited parking.  Instead of actually sitting in front of the memorial, we camped our lawn chairs at the top of the hill.  We found that we enjoyed this spot even better.

We arrived a little after 8:30 p.m. and fireworks didn't start until almost 10 p.m.  We really weren't prepared this year.  On my to take list next year, a picnic dinner or at least snacks, and things to entertain the kiddos:  a ball, bubbles, maybe even our sparklers.  At least, we were able to view smaller fireworks being set off from various sites around the city.

FINALLY - it got dark!

Once the fireworks show began, we were all quite content to "ooh" and "aah" at every explosion.  The kiddos called out their favorite colors, and "Wow! That's a big one!"  I have always really enjoyed fireworks shows, but they are even better through the eyes of my children.

Not a great pic, but can you spot our state capital building at the bottom left?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Little Sparklers

Fourth of July weekend is synonymous with sparklers.  As a child, I remember playing with these wonders - that's as brave as my parents ever got.  Jon, on the other hand, would really like to channel his inner pyro.  However, he stuck mostly to the tried and true nostalgia sparklers bring.

After a day of tears, farewells, food, and friends, this was a good ending!  The kids got home, became jammie clad, and played with fire.  (Good things PJ's aren't flammable - I did a great speech in college on this.  Ask me about it sometime!)

My littles had a grand time and even got to see some of our much braver neighbors launch what could probably rival commercial grade fireworks in their driveways and the streets.  Best I can tell, no one lost an appendage and there was no property damage.  Wonders never cease!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hard to Say Goodbye

Excited for the future - YES!
Thrilled at the opportunities and doors opening for our family - YES!
Confident that we are living in OBEDIENCE to God's Will - YES!
Easy to say goodbye to our GCC FAMILY - NO!

Goodbyes are hard... even when they aren't really goodbyes, just see ya laters, see ya soons, we're still around, etc.  Any way we say it, the people that we have seen week in and week out for 9 years won't be as big a part of our lives anymore.  Even still, our Graefenburg Christian Church family will be in our hearts forever.

July 3rd was very emotional day.  I pretty much cried from the time the worship service began...  Jon had his moments as well.  However, I give him many kudos.  He was emotional, tearful, sincere, but never all out blubbering.  Way to hold it together babe... he even got a few laughs.  Yes, that would, of course, have to be at the expense of the Louisville fans!  Serves them right, huh?

Our church family surprised us with an extremely generous monetary gift.  We had a closing prayer circle, and then many hugs, tears, and dear words were shared.  The most heart-wrenching part came when it was time to say goodbye to some of the kids.  College age, high-school, middle school... we've watched these guys and gals grow up.  Even though we weren't ever really in a youth ministry role, these youth are so special to us.  We are proud of them and the way they put Christ first in their lives.  We have been truly touched to see the way they have loved and cared for our own three little ones. 

In fact, Jeremiah had a really tough time seeing his "big brothers" so upset.  Lots of tears toward the end from my little man.  Rachel was a clingy basket case because her mommy was being a boo-hoo baby.  She hasn't really seen Mommy lose it, so it scared her a bit.  She had quite the bear hug going on... so much so that my earring got stuck in her hair on a couple occasions requiring assistance from others to detach us.  Caleb seemed to take it all in stride.  His main concern of the day... could his girlfriend Tori come over for a sleepover?  Hmmm... well, maybe with Rachel someday.  Haha - love 5 year old innocence.

After our bawlfest, we went out to eat with dear friends and then headed home to regroup before our farewell dinner and annual patriotic God and Country service.  We enjoyed food, fellowship, and our GCC family.  Blue No More and Sweet Spirit blessed us in song.  Then, the Ladies Circle ensured I'd cry one last time.  Rita spoke of my heart and passion for vulnerable children and adoption.  Then, she presented me with a donation to Light Will Rise, the non-profit organization I have the privilege of serving.  My heartfelt thanks to these sweet ladies who understand and support that which is so important to me. 

A few more goodbyes and then outside to launch water rockets, play volleyball, basketball, and sit and chat.  The kiddos had the best time running around, laughing, playing with their friends, and getting absolutely water logged.  It made for a soggy ride home, but I'm so glad that we were able to make our final departure with smiling kiddo faces instead of sad faces.  This was just what they needed!

So farewell GCC... we'll always be around and in time look forward to visiting.  It has been an honor and a joy to serve alongside you for 9 years.  Our prayers are for this to be a catalyst for great growth in spirit and number for the church.  We pray believing that God will direct the leaders of the church as they seek out a man of faith to fill the pulpit and serve.  Love to you all!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Falls of the Ohio

aerial view of the falls of the ohio
Today, we entered Hoosier Land... well, just barely.  Yes, we crossed the bridge into Indiana for some family fun at the Falls of the Ohio State Park.  I was unaware that this place even existed, but Jon had been before with a high school friend.  The kids truly enjoyed exploring this amazing fossil bed.

Before getting our nature groove on, we headed inside the museum.  While we most likely will return to the park in the future, I don't believe the museum will be included in our trip.  Yeah, once through and you pretty much grasp it all... oh yes, and get inundated with the message of evolution science.  Although, the large woolly mammoth skeleton as you enter the museum is pretty cool! 

We watched the 14 minute video supposedly explaining how this area came to be and it was heavily salted and peppered with millions of years, old earth theory.  The dry, monotone voice of the film's narrator would make a statement, and I'd loudly let my kiddos know that was incorrect.  We did have the theatre to ourselves most of the time :-)
Rachel coloring in the kiddie area!
Caleb constructed this foam bridge.
So... what does make a good fossil?
Rare - Mommy is actually in a picture and not behind the camera!
Virtually unheard of... a full family photo!  Thanks stranger passing by!
On the lookout for fossils... of course, in Caleb's mind they were all dinosaur bones.
My favorite peeps :-)

After this excursion, we grabbed a late lunch and headed to our favorite spot THE LOUISVILLE ZOO.  Finally, we were able to see for a very brief moment the infamous polar bear.  The kids were able to cool off in the Splash Park, and when we were sufficiently tuckered out, we headed home.  Family days are the best!