Friday, July 31, 2009

My 36th Birthday today!

As it is my Birthday...I thought I would share some of my testimony of my life with all of you. I grew up in a Christian Family- they are wonderful. My parents taught us from a very early age abut scripture, God's Love for us, repentance, guidance, church, friends in Christ, and sooo much more. As with all children you never realize what you have until you are older or you miss it. That is how I feel as well. I used to cringe when people said I was just like my I consider it a high compliment. (more on that maybe in a later post.)

So a big part of my life that most people don't know....unless you have heard my testimony before is that I am a cancer survivor. When I was 8! Actually a day after my birthday is when I found out. We were on a camping trip with our family. I had the urge to use the restroom.....again and my parents took me to the doctor. They did tests thinking I had kidney failure. What they later found with more tests is a tumor that had shifted to leaning on my bladder.

They did a surgery a day later- 7 doctors.....14 hours later........and I was done. After a yearish of radiation therapy, hospital stays during the week, and coming home on weekends only......AND DID I MENTION LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF PRAYERS SAID BY SOOOO MANY PEOPLE I WILL NEVER EVEN KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was healed- by our GREAT PHYSICIAN! I was officially pronunced cured at age 18!

This was a very difficult time for our family. My dad was a truckdriver, my 2 brothers stayed with grandparents, and we saw each other only on weekends. Very tough - on my brothers, on my parents, on me.....not to mention my dad lost his sister to cancer about 7 years prior to this happening.

My grandmother called me a "walking miracle"- which is soooo true!!! The cancer weighed a whopping 5 lbs. which for an 8 year old skinny girl was a lot! They took out anything that wasn't absolutely necessary for me to live- including all of my "female" organs, scrapped all kinds of organs, and took bits so they were triple sure to remove anything cancerous. They thought before surgery that it was benign, but discovered during surgery- it was malignant and had burst outside of itself. Making my recovery and life- A MIRACLE OF GOD!!!!

It doesn't get any better than that!!! To be born is a miracle of God!!! To be saved by HIS AMAZING Grace- another MIRACLE!!!! To be cured of cancer- ANOTHER HUGE MIRACLE!!!!!!!! What can I say- you all thought I was crazy and Blessed just because of our family, but I say everyday I am alive and can breath in and out - is a miracle Blessed By God!!!!

What can I mom was heartbroken that I would not be able to have children. She even had a crazy notion that she would have children for me.....and when she had to have a hysterectomy as well- cried her eyes out. When she told me about it.....I simply said- God has brought me this far and HE has a plan.

I remember those long days sitting and waiting for a doctors......all the mom would be reading scripture, devotions, praying, and just loving every minute she had with me! I could never know exactly what she and my family went through, but I do know that God did many miracles in all of our lives through this crazy, tough, hard- financially, physically, spiritually time.

Praise God I was able to see HIS plans and when He provided my AMAZING husband who loved me - no matter what. When HE provided each one of our little Miracles- I MEAN HUGE MIRACLES!!!!!!! It just goes to show HIS GLORY even more!!!!

I mean our life is a story that no one could just think up. 2 people from different countries camp.....a girl with cancer.....survives......the marry......and adopt 7 children (more to come!).....I mean who could think that up??? Not me!

But, I am BLESSED on my Birthday to remember all of the many, many, many, many miracles God has given to me....and part of my calling is to share that with as many people as possible! So I wanted to share with all of you!!!!!

Thank you for reading this incredibly long post, and please feel free to share with others my miracle or never know how it may change someone's life forever- FOR GOD!!!!!

****Also please pray for another little girl- she is 4, and has touched my life. She has the same beautiful name as our oldest daughter.....Abigail- they call her Abby! She is struggling with cancer right now, and has an infection on top of that. Oh the days of wearing masks, and feeling in my mind. Please pray for her whole wonderful family-

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fun With Worship Team

Here are the adults....chatting know solving the world's problems and laughing about our kids and what all parents go through.....
And all of these are just pure kid fun in the pool!!!!

Try to relax have been working too hard...
Is that our youngest just walking off the diving board........
yep, and he loved it! Look at that smile!!!
Elizabeth- afraid of nothing!!!

So all of our children had fun as we had fellowship and fun as well. So GREAT worship team party by the pool. What a great way to be a family of God. Love it!

Hope all of our Blog friends are having a great summer too!!! Tonight is the last night we have campers here. Very strange reality. Friday night & Saturday morning we say goodbye to our wonderful staff (as well as have a family reunion Saturday too).

Then we have to round off all the bits to be done before we leave.....

Next Tuesday we leave for Florida to visit family (near Tampa). I am sure we will post more pics then for sure. Can't wait to see them all they are amazing.

Happy summer memories!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lives for Christ!!!!

So this is the last week of camp.....and I just wanted to share a quick post on this great news!!!!!! We have had a little over 300 campers. Which is great! Over 1/2 of those are jr/sr. high campers. Huge because usually when they get older they don't want to do camp anymore or don't have time for camp, but not these totally great kids!


Yep, read that all day long and let that soak in. 60 campers are heading towards Christ, accepted that HE is their heavenly father. We have 60 brothers and sisters in Christ that grew in HIM at camp and wrote it down! Many many more wrote down about growth that they did not otherwise indicate.

ALL I CAN SAY IS PRAISE GOD!!!!! Give him all the honor and the glory for the wonderful things HE has done. For moving in the hearts of our children! For reaching into all the families, communities, churches, and of course our staffs' hearts as well- and changing us all forever!!!

This is what brings me to tears....the shear Glory of God showing in the campers! Amazes me every time!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just had to share this completely awesome news!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Can't Hold It In Any Longer!!!!!

OK so I can't hold it in any longer!!!!! We have already done our pre application to start another adoption through AGCI- Ethiopia again. We can't officially apply until September- we have to wait 9 months. Some on the listserv indicted you could do it sooner....but that isn't the case.

So instead we are working on getting some of the "stuff" done ahead of time like the ordering of birth certs and our marriage license. Since Jason is originally from England and we were married in England....last time this took a while. We will see what else we can take care of ahead of time.

Our pre app has already been approved!!!! YEAH!!!! So soon- well relatively we will be pouring over more paperwork, and sending in that all infamous dossier- you know the document that includes loads of other documents that you have to stress, strain, travel, have notarized (at least dozen of times- we really knew our State Farm agent after our last adoption because she was our notary- for free bless her heart!!!)...but it is all sooo worth it!

People say- you are so crazy- oh yeah, you don't know the half of it! We have already been praying for our next little one. It is fun to dream about them. Are they already born, or will they be born today? A boy or girl- although with the list as it is now- looking like a Joel Aaron and not a Naomi Caroline. We do not care really.....we are flexible. We have been blessed so much already.....only God knows who needs to be in our home.

Well.....just couldn't wait to share any that crazy????

I will dance I will sing to be mad for my KING nothing Lord is hindering this passion in my soul!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How in the World do you run a house with 7 children???

We have had the famous question......How do you do it? Well, first I remind them that "we don't do it!- God is the center of our fun, crazy, chaotic household". Then my next response is --My children help do it all!
Look at that smile- they love our new vacuum- Dyson is the best- expensive, but great. From the age of 2 they start picking up toys, helping carry the dishes to the dishwasher, putting clothes in the laundry basket, and any other tidbits we can find! In fact really we start when they can walk, but it takes until 2 to get the basics down.
We gradually build to taking the dog out, feeding and getting water for all of our pets- we have an indoor dog, outdoor dog, indoor cat, and 2 gerbils (we love animals- especially ones from rescue shelters), cleaning mirrors, sinks, toilets, vacuuming, emptying the dishwasher, helping prepare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner- with learning the basics of cooking & cleaning up.
They all do a great job!!!! I am not bragging by any means, but others ask- how do you get them to do it answer- I don't give them a choice. I do my best (not perfect by any stretch) to model a cheerful housekeeper. We try to make it a team play....we all do our part to help out. I have to say it is a work of God!!!! My children do their part most of the time without complaint. Mostly because they know it will not work, but also because I believe God is working in them to make them each servants for HIM!!! I praise God for this!!!!!

So here are some great kid quotes.....Sarah says to me- my shirt is getting small. I love it when our kids say these the shirt must have shrunk (or you are growing!!!). I love it when they mimic. So most people's children play house...mine do to, but they call it playing honey? Not sure why? Maybe because I call Jason honey a lot?

So here are my children's typical playing time this summer. They say- OK so repeat after me...oh the Lord is good to me...and so I thank the Lord...for giving me the things I the sun and the rain....and the appleseed.....oh the Lord is good to me.....amen, amen, amen, amen.....- this is one of several singing graces we do.

Or they will say "OK so here we have salad, fruit, and pb and j if you are extra hungry or want more food. this is how we clean person will be the "hopper" and they will come early set out the plates, silverware, cups, napkins, and then they will take the food to the tables. After meals this person will bring back up all the serving trays, leftover food, clear all the dishes. Here is where you stack your plates- no higher than 10, here is the bucket for the cups, and here is the bucket for the silverware. Note that if you throw the silverware in - you will get splashback because there is soapy water in this bucket. Also make sure to put any left over liquids in these tin cans so that when our wonderful kitchen staff empty the garbage later in the day they don't get nasty ooze running down their legs. We will switch "hoppers" every meal. " etc. etc. Oh yeah that is the speech I give during the first meal every week. Hey, at least my children listen. They have it all down.

So that is what happens when you are a camp director's kids. My children are not afraid to tell staff if they think they are breaking any safety rules. They have heard me talk about American Camping Association accredidation. The over 300 saftey rules we follow to make it safe for campers. They know the camp routine better than anyone.

The only bad part is our staff will leave in a week and a half.....and my kids cry every year. They really love our staff and our staff really love them too! So we will start preparing our kids for that. Then we will talk up our vacation we will be going on soon after the staff leave. Hey, the distraction technique sometimes works.

Until later my blog friends!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy 12th Anniversary- Sunday the 19th!

These are the beautiful roses my husband gave to me in front of all our families of 80 campers last Friday. He gave witness to how we promised each other forever- never ever mention the word divorce. Thank the Lord I am married to an amazing man who loves me that much!!!!!
This is the room that we stayed in at Lloyd Plantation- near Alexandria, LA. It was beautiful!!!!
This was the view out of our back porch. Serene, peaceful, and wonderful!!!!
Our kitchen in our room.
Our front porch....
These are pics from the main house we toured on Sunday....It was amazing!!!! Look at the molding.
How wonderful is this?
Looking out to the courtyard area...the house on the left- the place we stayed was the original commisary.
One of the suites inside the house that you can stay in.
Looking from the balcony out front of the main house. Beautiful!!!
Look at that! What a history. The home is 200 years old. It has been really well revamped to the original as much as possible. Fun stories to go along with it. Actually the original Lloyd owner of the plantation- sugar, was from Lloyd bank in England! He was a family outcast and they paid him "inheritance" to get him away from the banking business which he was not good at.

Our time away was short, but wonderful!!!! Thank you to Sarah for looking after our babes while we were away. We sooo appreciate all of her help to our family!!!!!

I am truly in love with my husband, and so grateful that God matched us up together. I have no idea what I would do or be without him & HIM!!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Camp Directors' Lives

So I thought I would blog more about our camp lives....since it is not a ministry everyone thinks about, but it is dear to our hearts. This week has been our biggest yet- 80 jr/sr. high campers! We are a small camp, but for us...this is pretty big. God has an awesome way of bringing who needs to come to camp here.

Jason and I love leading worship together- we both sing, and he plays the keyboard. I love worshiping with my husband - he is a great spiritual leader. However, he doesn't do the whole give a sermon or even sermonette thing. But I on the other hand love it!!!!! I really feel God has Blessed me with a gift for HIM. I love sharing parts of my life, experiences, and stories from Scripture with others. So we lead 2 times a week and our wonderful staff lead 2 times a week- so we all get the chance to be in the background and lead as well. Our staff are talented....and if not they just do what they can anyway. We love doing skits either to songs or things we pick up from wherever.....and they do well. This year we have a skit to "Give me Your Eyes".....and I love it!!! I love the song, but seeing what they came up with.....hits home!

The best part of the night is getting to have the campers write down their prayer that opens your eyes! You thought your life was hard? Not even close! That always brings me back to the reality of why we are here. Why God created camps & retreat centers.

We love what God can do through camp- break down barriers that Christians are boring, heal hearts that have been sooo broken by the world, and to really show campers that there is a way to live that can be sooo different that what they see on the tv.

Our main scripture for the summer is Romans 8:39 "Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to seperate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord." Of course I recommend reading all of Romans 8 - one of my favorites. Our theme- I WILL NOT BE MOVED! There is a song we use by Natalie Grant with the same title.

We are talking about the fact that even when the world rages on past us that God is our firm foundation, our solid rock, our fortress, our shelter, our shield, everything in one. Because of that we can't be moved- by bad economic times, by stress, by drinking, by cutting, by abuse, by lonliness, by unfaithfulness, by our sins, NOTHING can seperate us from God's LOVE! Praise God for that!!!!! Think about it...when we sin....God still loves us.

So a story about Joshua....yesterday he got in trouble (which is actually rare for him). He was really rubbing it in to Andrew that he had broken his newly created lego toy. No idea why, but as I was trying to read my Bible in my room- I could hear him shouting it! Anyway, after I came and talked with him about it....he didn't stop. So into our bedroom he came- and we had another chat. He knew I was serious now, and he knew he was wrong. So after some thinking time and prayer....he apologized to Andrew. And then he did something that made me cry.

We were actually on our way out the door to go over for lunch at our dining hall...and I saw him sneak over and put something on my computer was a colored picture with the words I love you mommy- love Joshua. It just reminded me that when we sin, and we come back to Christ....and ask forgiveness....He always is faithful and just and forgives us. He is like I was yesterday saying- that is my child. He is forgiven, and just wants to show me even more that he is going to try hard. I love him, am proud of him. WOW my heavenly daddy must really love me a lot to keep taking me back!!!

When those storms of life rage.....and they will.....I (WE) WILL NOT BE MOVED OFF THE ROCK THAT IS OUR FOUNDATION!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Jason's Birthday!! The most wonderful husband!!!!

So these pics are actually taken a bit before Father's day, but I just wanted to share about the best husband in the world!!!!!!!!! Look at him with our kids....he is totally nuts about them!!!!
Teaching them about God, leading them, showing them what a family is, what it means to be a good spiritual leader! What can I say- he should make all of you jealous! He cooks, he does the laundry.....and he writes the sweetest poems! Oh yeah. He also has the bestest anniversary gifts ever!!!!! I don't know what I did to deserve him, but THANK YOU JESUS!!!! We love advocating for orphans, for Christian camping, homeschooling, creationism, Christian families, standing up for values, and LOVE singing together and leading worship too!!! His voice is wonderful, and he plays the keyboard. Oh yeah, I have the complete package!!!! On top of it all he is soooo handsome! My true best friend who I can share anything with, and who seeks to be a great husband- even when I am unthoughtful, rude, or even mean. I love him!!!!!
OK so on with the Birthday stuff.....this is the cake I made for him. OK for those of you who don't know me...I don't cook....unless it is just like noodles, or hamburger for tacos. I do cookies pretty well, but Jason has sadly never had me make a cake for him ever...sorry honey. But I know that he loves ice cream (that is another thing we have in common!), and I remembered there was a recipe in the Duggar's book for an ice cream cake. So I picked up supplies last Sunday for his birthday this past Wednesday...and here it is....may not look like much, but it tastes wonderful!!!
Here he shock that I made a cake for him......
Looking at cards...and our kids almost looking thrilled......
Showing the kids his new toys.....he bought for fun....for getting clothes clean...and he is demonstrating this....oh yeah!
What is it....a head buffer???
Nope another new toy he got....a duster that is neon green and blue....just look at that smile.....easily satisfied with the small things in life!!!!
See it is soft and you can put it in the laundry...he says.......
And to wrap it up....what happens when you take a 2 year old swimming for a few hours......they fall asleep.....
Partially standing up.......Not sure how Jonathan managed this, but he is out for the count!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Loads of Sea World Pictures from our trip last week

Shamu says.....Hello i am........
Hey, don't forget me....I am cute too, and you get to pet me, and you feed me fish.....
Our 2 babes waiting for the others that are big enough to go on the rides...sorry, you will grow up fast enough. Good thing mommy brought snacks for us to enjoy while we wait!
Wow, look at him jump!!!!!! Can we bring him home and put him in our pool???
OK so Jonathan was not so happy to see the "live- person" version of Shamu, but the real thing impressed him!!!!
Look at that face. This is my "cheeky" face. The one my family fell in love with in my referral pics.....oh yeah- look at this!
The Sea Lion show is hilarious- silly jokes, but lots of fun!!!!
Going down the river with staff and kids....
I love this huge guy.....he is so cute- ok in a weird sort of way.....
Our kids enjoying the show......
Looks like a great life to me...can I come....
Wait, are you saying I would have to eat this? Maybe I won't join you after all.........
Look at those beautiful children!!!!!!!!!!!! How could I be sooo Blessed???
Awww....look at those cute- keep your eye out for them though...maybe both eyes!!!
Love the little Shamu ride!
More river ride fun....
That's my little man! How cute is that?
Oooops got that backwards.....this is where you get wet......

This is them waiting to get wet.......

This is the AMAZING Viva show with black & white dolphins, and the beluga whales, not to mention the incredible trainers themselves who do water ballet, and incredible dives themselves. Love this show!!!! So much fun and the kids love it too- no matter what age.

We always have a great time at Sea World...mostly because we love the shows with the animals, and the cute rides, and the family fun. What we don't love is people who don't seem to think they need clothing????

Anyway, we love our staff and taking them on a trip is just part of what we like to do for them. They are wonderful to work with!!!! We of course get some family time in the summer too....which is limited.

Back at camp and going strong for another month of camps. Serving God, helping to lead others to know God, and growing as a family in Christ. It doesn't get any better than that!!!!!