New Beginnings

This morning my heart left for Texas.  We started the first part of our transition to Nacogdoches.  We had a wonderful last service with our church family this past Sunday at FBC Heath celebrating a man who has loved God’s church and his people.  It took a long time to get through all the cards and gifts we received.  It was a great day worshipping our Lord as one united fellowship.  Sundays will not be the same without him, since we are staying behind.  The girls and I get to be just church members for a little while.  You will not find us on the front row.

Our family is not a fan of being apart.  This transition will not be easy. We will miss each other terribly.  My hubby is my best  friend and gives the best gifts.  To help me get through this time a part – he gave me a “happy box”.  The box included mani/pedis, mini-shopping trips, massages, maid service, and CHOCOLATE! It may not be enough chocolate though.  It will allow me a little time for myself, and I will think of him and how much he loves me.  Thank the Lord for FaceTime!

 

 

Also, our house is still for sale.

 

Everything Changes

Ohio is what our kids know and remember. We moved here almost 12 years ago. Hannah was entering first grade and Emily was still a preschooler when we came to Ohio.  Hannah remembers some of her life in Alabama, but Emily not as much.  Hubby and I have now spent over half our married life in Ohio.  In ministry life being at a church for 12 years is a long time.  Not many last as long as we have at one church.  God has blessed us more than we deserve.

In the past 12 years many things have happened. We have gone through some tough times. The good outweighs the bad by far. We have gotten to travel to places we never thought we would have been able to see. We added a third girl to our family 5 years ago. All three of our girls we baptized here at our church in Ohio. We have truly enjoyed being apart of a welcoming church, community, and homeschool family. All of these have been nothing but supportive.

Today is a bittersweet day.  Hubby will resign from our church. Our family will be moving to Nacogdoches, TX. We will not all move together. Hubby’s last day is March 5th.  He will move first. We will stay behind to finish out the school year.  We will put an exclamation on our 12 years here with Hannah’s graduation and Emily’s Sweet 16 party. This has not been an easy decision. Hubby and I have talked through so many scenarios and consumed a lot of chips and guacamole.  God has walked with us through this. He has clearly marked our steps. We are excited about what God has in store for our family. We will truly miss Ohio except for the bitter cold weather. I am wondering though – is there a Texas for Dummies book? Anyone need a nice 4bedroom 2 1/2 bath home with an awesome craft room?

Oaxaca Update

This is an update we received from the field.
Hello friends and family,
I know it’s been a while since you last heard from me but it has been amazing seeing God’s work through my team. Here’s a big update to catch y’all up on my last couple weeks on the field.
June 10-18th was training week in New York and I got meet my teammates – L, E, A, B, M. Our team has been blessed with a team with strengths and weaknesses that together are united in the Gospel, and the Father will be glorified through this endeavor. We spent our mornings learning practical tools for the Gospel and then we were sent off into the city to practice and learn the culture they would be emerged into this summer!
The week in New York was spent training and equipping us with practical tools for the Gospel. It was awesome to see God’s work for the nations still being accomplished in the states!
July 18-27
The first week in Oaxaca was getting settled in our village and getting to know the people. We are currently living with a Catholic family and hoping to be the light for them.
This past week we had the opportunity to partner with a church who had a basketball camp and VBS while we have the opportunity to teach ESL in the afternoon.
We have made several relationships through the English classes and late night basketball games with some of the young women in the village. It is so amazing that we have been accepted into the village and lifestyle!
Life in the village is hard, and living in such a close corders can be very taxing on the teams unity and personal health. Please pray that our bodies will be healthy and that the team’s morale and unity withhold through the spiritual battle that we are in.
July 27-4th
This week we had the opportunity to meet up with some long term folks for encouragement and rest, it’s been a fun week filled with once in a life time adventures.
We will leave and head into the city for preparation for the rest of the summer. Please pray for safety as we travel.
Thank you for your support and prayers!
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Storytelling

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Mexican Hot Chocolate

Hello

Should I sing the Adele song? I know it has been so long since I have posted, but I just haven’t found the time or been motivated to. We are doing well and ready to take on our summer. I thought last summer was strange with our sabbatical, but this summer may top it. Our family will not be all together for 7 weeks this summer.

This summer Emily will be spending 40 days in Oaxaca, Mexico with the IMB Endeavor program. She will train in NYC for 5 days before flying to Mexico to help the Zapotec people in the mountains of Southern Mexico. She will be sharing the love of Christ with the people as well as encouraging the current believers. God has provided much of the funding for her trip, and we can’t wait to see what God will do through her and the team. Thank you to all who has support her. Please pray for her and her team as the prepare. Pray that her team will bond together and be effective.

Hannah will have a busy summer as well. This summer she will be working on getting her college applications ready to submit this fall. That is her main focus this summer, and I can’t believe it is time for that already.  She is also doing some traveling. She is one of the girls representing Licking Co. American Legion at Buckeye Girls State. She is looking forward to meeting many other girls from all over the state and to participate in a mock government for a week at Mt. Union. She is also getting to go back to Super Summer at Cedarville. It is her 3rd year to go, and it has been one of her highlights of each summer. I’m excited about it as well, because I am going for the first time as well as a family leader. We are also going together on our church’s youth group mission trip as well to Cleveland. I am looking forward to spending these two weeks with Hannah. Hannah is also one of the captains of the tennis team, so she will be busy running some practices before the season starts in August.

Rae’s summer is a little less busy. She is hoping to get to play some tennis and do some swimming. She is only a little excited about getting to go to summer camp. She was accepted to the Flying Horse Farm Camp for Hematology/Oncology Week. She has not been away for a camp like this, but it should be very good for her and very fun. It is not far from where we live, so if there was a problem we would not be far away.

I will try to keep y’all updated on Emily’s trip as well as our other adventures.  Here’s to a great summer!

Mom Blogger

I have been writing in the blog world since April 2006. It was under a different name, but last year I decided to merge the family blog and our adoption blog into one site.  It was tough keeping both sites updated. My site has gone thru many different looks, with the main one purchasing my own domain name.  Some days my creative side comes out and I want to change the look, but some days I just need to settle on one and go with it.

I know readers have come and gone over the years. Thanks to the ones who have stuck with me and my crazy writing or lack there of.  I do enjoy writing (somedays) which is surprising since I didn’t enjoy too much in high school.  It allows me to get my thoughts out and to have an account of what out family has done.  Writing this blog and keeping it updated is one of the things I am hoping to be more faithful in doing.  It is something I am making time for.  I’m excited to see what it may turn into in the future.

I am trying to do some more interesting things with my site, of what I am not all sure.  Right now I am just trying to get my words and my thoughts out, and pick up some new readers.  One thing I am hoping to do is more product reviews and recommendations. I have a couple in the works with maybe a giveaway or two.  I hope to encourage families who are thinking of adopting or who have already adopted. I also want to encourage moms and especially homeschool moms.  Please stay with me, and share my website with your friends.  Leave me comments. I would love to hear from you.

10 Years

When you saw the title, you think – celebrating marriage or birthday? No. Ten years ago our family moved to Ohio.  It is kind of strange how I remember when we moved here, but it was the same time Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on the coast of Mississippi and Louisiana. We moved out of AL before the hurricane hit the coast.

the girls were so little when we moved here

10 years ago – the girls were so little when we moved here

Moving out of the South was a big change for us.  We had been married for 10 years and had 2 girls.  We had spent all of our lives in the South, but God chose to move us out of comfort zone.  While many may be scared of moving to a totally different area, we were not.  It was new adventure for us. The girls actually thought we were moving to Idaho or Iowa.  They had never really heard of Ohio till we came here.

We started talking with our church in the spring of that year, but we did not tell our girls because it would be hard for them to understand.  We had to be a little creative in how we told them, especially because they were getting to ride on an airplane for the first time to come to Ohio to visit with the church. They had never been part of a church move before.  In our last church move I was pregnant with Hannah.  They only knew Alabama and their friends there.

In the last 10 years we have been thru a many things – good and not so good.  Some of my favorites –

  • CFE – Finding this wonderful homeschool group has been the best thing. All of the parents and kids in the group mean a great deal to us and our girls. So many memories and experiences we have had and done.
  • Our church – They are a wonderful group of people who love us, pray for us, and miss us when we are away. It has been truly amazing to do life with the people of our church. We love you!
  • Blessings – I could write multiple posts on the blessings God has given our family, but God has really been so good to us more than we deserve.
  • Adoption – God chose to truly burden our hearts about after we moved here. It was truly one of the best blessings we have had outside giving birth to our two girls.
  • Travel – Living in almost the middle of the country, we can get to many fun locations easily.  We have been able to see some new and exciting areas we would not have been able to do if we didn’t follow God’s leadership to move here. If we didn’t drive to some of these locations, flying was often cheap and easy.

The past 10 years have been really great. We have often said that we could spend the rest of our lives here if God so chooses.  The downside of living here is that our girls have not been able to grow up around their grandparents and extended family.  That is one thing many ministers’ families have to deal with.  It comes with choosing to follow God’s leading and go where He wants you to go.

Our family has grown in so many ways over the past 10 years. We are looking forward to the next 10 or more years.

Family Road Trip 2014

This summer, since we no longer have access to our location in Myrtle Beach anymore, we thought we may try a road trip.  We had talked about it earlier in the year, and we thought we would either drive up the east coast to Maine or Canada or head west to see Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands.  We talked as a family and everyone voted to travel up the East Coast.  The next step was deciding when to go.  The SBC Convention was in Baltimore and we were attending the Virginia Homeschool Convention. So it was decided to head north after these events since we were already on the coast.  Also, another key for our trip was not to drive too much in one day.

Our trip started at Virginia Beach.  We thought that would help the little one to give her some excitement before all the museums and meeting we were to be in. In VB we enjoyed a little beach time, rented one of those 4 person bikes and road up and down the boardwalk.  We visited the WW1 & WW2 aviation museum. We tried to see one of the bases there, but they are a little strict to get on there.  It probably didn’t help that we were in a rental minivan from Canada, Oh Well! We enjoyed our short time there, and hopefully we will get to go back for steel drum festival.

Up next was Richmond and the homeschool convention.  I had only been to the CHEO, but I really enjoyed HEAV convention.  I was able to see alot vendors and talk with them.  Several of the sessions were very helpful and got me excited for the new school year.  The girls had fun seeing the different booths too.

We finished up the convention then headed to Baltimore for the SBC convention.  This was the longest we would stay anywhere on our trip. In Baltimore we found some great seafood (yummy crabcakes). The big girls and I went to the National Aquarium while the little went with hubby to see DC. It was a fun day for all. During the convention I was able to hear from some great pastor’s wives and then hear Pricilla Shirer at the Pastor’s Wives Lunch. The big girls got to participate in two mission projects while in Baltimore. It was good for them to see other inner cities, and also to hang with other PKs. Hubby and I also enjoy the convention, because we got to see some of our friends and go out to dinner with them. It was exciting to be there to see a friend be elected as the next president of the Pastor Conference. We are looking forward to the convention next year in Columbus. While, we will not have to travel far, it will still be good to see our friends and take friends with us to it.

With the two conventions behind us, we headed for the rest of our vacation. First stop – Philadelphia. We spent one day there and saw – Constitution Museum, Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and took a carriage ride thru the city. The girls had to keep shushing me, because I kept singing songs from 1776. It was just hard not to sing there! We also ate at the City Tavern and had ice cream sundaes at Franklin Fountain. We enjoyed the city seeing the birthplace of our independence despite the rain.

Next up – Boston. Our goal was to travel along the coast and stop at different stops to see the Atlantic or various bodies of waters and to go thru as many states was we could. On the way to Boston, we stopped in Connecticut and spent the night. It was fun going thru all the states and seeing homes and beach areas. From Baltimore we went thru Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

The big girls were very excited about Boston – one, they had never been there, and two, one of them wanted to visit Harvard.  First – weather in Boston was beautiful except for a little rain for part of one day! We tried to do an all day tour, but it was sold out before we could book it – plan B.  First up – we were able to go see the homeplace of John Adams. It is owned by the National Park Service so they are able to preserve it for the future.  If you are ever in Boston this should be a must do for you.  We saw his birthplace, first home, and the home he and Abigail bought and enlarged, and Peace Farm(what’s left of it). It was so neat to see family items in there original location that were preserved for many generations and passed down thru their family. We saw the clock John and Abigail received as a wedding present – it still works and keeps perfect time.  So much history in that one location, is just amazing.  After this, we took the trolley tour thru Boston and got off a different locations. We saw the USS Constitution, the harbor, Union Oyster House, Faneuil Hall, Old North Church, Paul Revere home, and several locations along the Freedom Trail. Our final tour of Boston was hubby and the oldest who took the Harvard Tour. The littles and I didn’t want to so we headed to the Dragon Boat Festival.  We had no idea it was happening when we got to Boston, so this was bonus.  The little was excited to see the boats race, and E and I were in the minority, so we know how the little feels almost everyday. It was just a beautiful day. After this – next up Maine! Traveling up the coast we did hope to stop to see the Bush Compound, but due to time constraints, we missed it.

We were going to stay in Portland, but decided to drive a little further and stay in Bar Harbor. This was maybe our favorite stay. We were able to rent a house in Southwest Harbor. It was wonderfully quiet. We had considered going whale watching but after reading reviews of sickness, we opted for lobster fishing.  It was fun to see how they catch the lobsters and how the business works. Our naturalist was great. They had a touch tank on board and the girls just loved playing in it. There were only 12 people on our boat, so the girls got to ask alot of questions and play in the touch tank mostly by themselves.  On the boat we traveled out to an island and see the lighthouse, harbor seal adults and pups, eagles, and other types of birds. Bar Harbor is a beautiful town along our coastline. We did go up to Cadillac Mountain and drive thru Acadia National Park. We hiked around Jordan’s Pond and have popovers at the tea house. The highlight for hubby was getting lobsters and doing our own lobster bake. It was fun and yummy!

We did not like seeing our vacation end, but we made so many of memories and put 3500 miles on our rental. We covered 12 states.  You can see pics of our vacation on my FB page. We can’t wait till our next road trip.

Changes are a coming….

Things are busy in the Dear Family. Changes moving around in AbideWithHim world. I am working on changing up my blog and moving to another blog platform. I have secured a new website www.increasingheartandhome.com. It is up, but not much going on there yet. I am wanting to focus on a few things such at homeschooling, adoption and living with special needs child, and life in the ministry.

I hope to up and completely running soon. So hang in there with me.

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