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Friday, July 30, 2010

Rich was right.

I learned something really cool this summer. Something that many of you have known for a long time. Why I never learned this as a kid, I don't know, but it ROCKS!!! Anyway, while we were at the beach, my brother-in-law, Rich, found like twenty or thirty sand dollars. He is really good at finding them (another talent of his is finding finding shark teeth). He had us each pick out one to take home with us. He also explained to me the correlation between the physical appearance of a sand dollar, and Jesus Christ. This is the cool part:

So as you can see, the sand dollar somewhat resembles the image of Jesus dying on the cross (with his hands outstretched, and his legs at the bottom). The five other points near the circumference of the sand dollar represent the nails used in his death. Finally, Rich said, if you break open a sand dollar, you will see a dove on the inside. "I can't explain it," he said. "Really," I thought, "that's crazy. I wonder what it really looks like. Maybe a weird shape that people have decided can be likened to a dove so that they can use it in a cool Christian analogy." Ha! Maybe some desperate preacher needed a good story!

When we got home to Wilmore, sure enough, Jon David broke his on accident, and here is what we found inside:

So cool! And I am super bummed that our camera couldn't handle the tiny size. It's about as small as an engagement ring diamond (the regular size, no crazy huge rocks). To me, it almost looks like a tiny butterfly fossil or something. If you looked at it under a microscope, it would be so neat. You can see amazing detail in the wings. It really is just crazy! How God thinks up these cool things, I have no idea. What a great, yet tiny testimony of God's creation. I love how God has so many awesome ideas that we have probably not even discovered yet!

So here is the deep part. Don and I have been going through a tough season lately. Perhaps the details of our journey are best left for another post... This neat discovery of the sand dollar only happened because Jon David broke the precious one that he had chosen. Were there tears? Oh yes. And so it has been for Don and me. There have been tears. But sometimes, only through being broken can God bring forth something beautiful. I guess this must sound pretty cliche to those of you who are used to going to church a lot. I myself have heard many analogies with a similar lesson. But it meant something to me. It gives me hope. I know that God works all things together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose--from Romans 8:28. I believe Him. I believe that this verse is true. Lord, help me to overcome my unbelief!

God bless you.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

On the Road Again

After Don's joyful return home, a trip to the pool, and a decent night's sleep, we were off again: beach bound! Unfortunately, a trip that we thought was going to take 5 or 6 hours was more like a 7 or 8 hour drive that ended up taking closer to NINE hours to simply arrive in Tampa--an hour still from the beach condo-- final destination. Why you ask? Number one: traffic. Number two: Caleb. Number three: random travel I guess. I have to brag and say that though Caleb only slept for about 45 minutes, much of his awake time was happy. But even with lots of happy time, there is plenty of time to be fussy when you are talking about nine hours in the car!!! Rich and Laura received us very graciously, and we were relieved to be in a comfortable place for the night.
We spent the next couple of nights at the condo. It was great! Caleb didn't make it to the beach a whole lot, but he seemed to enjoy it somewhat. The boys especially loved the pool. :)
Also, it was great to see Mike, Kristi and fam.

Finally, we headed back up to Georgia for a visit with Grandma and Grandaddy. On the way, we stopped at Ocala, to see Dan and kids -- sans Mel (yea, I know you're diggin the use of that new trendy word). Truthfully, I hated to miss you, Mel!! But Daniel was a fabulous host. I am ashamed to admit that I did not whip my camera out that day... I think it was packed. But Dan had vegetable beef soup ready for us to eat when we got there. No joke! Also, he showed us his practice. Very impressive. I am very proud of my brother. He has turned into a pretty cool dude (haha! He has always been pretty cool).
So back to Grandma and Grandaddy's: Michael was there too, so Jon David and Luke ate up the time shared with him. He was a great entertainer and baby-sitter!
Below: Grandma feeding and playing w/Caleb:

Below: Grandaddy and Caleb (10 months)
This picture trips me out!


Jon David:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chapter thirteen: First Crush, and end of GA

I'm afraid it's true. Jon David fell for a girl in the third grade this summer at Chattahoochee Valley church. The first time he mentioned her was after church on Wednesday night. He said that a girl named Madeline was outside on the playground, and that she was afraid of a bug on the ground. He walked up and smashed it for her, as I recall. According to him, she was very grateful. Classic knight in shining armor. ;)
Then, he talked about her in the evenings after super camp. I started to get pretty suspicious one day when I asked him what his favorite part of the day was, and he said that it was when the veggietales movie was over, and the lights were turned on, and he could see Madeline. Yea. He nick-named her "gir gir" for girlie girl.
Here is a quote from July 4th: "Madeline is the girl that I used to call "gir gir" and that I really like. I spy on girls that I like..." Oh dear!
I don't know how many times he asked me to print some pictures out for him that I had taken of her:
Chattahoochee Valley Church made quite an impression on Jon David and Luke. But especially Jon David. He even prayed that God would let him start going to church there. Everyone was super friendly and took us right in. And of course, there was Madeline. ;)
Here are a few pics of the kids singing songs on the evening of the Fourth of July: our last time to come to church on Sunday night. Tears were shed when it was over.
Sweet Jon David. He's got some drama in him, that's for sure.
Even Caleb enjoyed himself! Mrs. Diane took such great care of him!

Above: notice both of my older boys watching Madeline. In their defense, she was sort of "leading" the group that night I think.

And here they are with the famous Mr. Benny!! The incredible children's minister. The children's ministry here is outstanding!

And the rest of our time here in Columbus, Georgia... more fun, making it sad to leave!

BeePops had the FABULOUS idea of taking the older two boys to flat rock park. Here is some video footage. Way to go BeePops!

But despite all of the fun, nothing could replace Daddy. It started getting to all of us after a while: him being gone so long. Here are a few quotes:
Jon David at prayer time one night: "Thank You for helping the time pass quickly until Daddy comes home."
One day, Luke had a sad face and said that he missed Daddy.
Another day while we were skyping, Luke was struggling. He seemed upset. Unfortunately, he and Jon David had been arguing previously. I asked him if he was sad because he missed Daddy, and he said yes. He kept his face down low. Afterwards, I discovered him in the family room, sitting in the big chair. He simply said "Daddy's been gone for like ten thousand years!" :(
Luke at prayer time: "Please help me not to worry about Daddy taking a long time to come home."
As a side note that doesn't belong in the margins, Luke often prays for wisdom, power, and that God will help him not to do any sins, and that God will help him to be like God, and follow Him.
Lord, please help me to remember this when I start wondering when I'm going to be able to afford to decorate my house like I want to... Forgive me, Lord.
Oddly, we don't have any pictures of Don's return home. We were all so excited. The twenty-four hours following his return were filled with hugs, kisses, souvenirs, and more hugs and kisses. Oh, and sleep, and packing for the beach. ;)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Chapter twelve: Blast from the past

Well, this post appropriately follows my "Caroline" post. These photos are complements of her! (I have a strange feeling that English majors are shuddering silently at the grammar in the previous sentence. Feel free to correct me, it will make you feel better. ;)
When she came to visit, she brought her new laptop--very cute, might I add--with these pictures on it. They range from when Jon David was a baby --six months old, I think -- to basically before Caleb was born. It feels like an odd sort of summary of the past seven years of my life. It's kinda cool to see it through her camera lens. When I'm living the moment, I forget that though I may feel crazy on the inside, sometimes from an outsider's perspective, it doesn't seem all that bad. In fact, this makes me feel really thankful for how God has blessed me.
Crazy to think back about what my OLDEST --now SEVEN year old-- looked like at six months:

Fast forward to right after Luke was born. (In our Woodridge house--where Caroline and fam used to live!!)
Luke Jamberdy Jambers!!!

And Jon "Diddly" (not quite 2 yrs):

Below, classic Jon David. And oh, how I remember feeling this EXHAUSTED. This picture is so revealing. Having two babies this close together did a number on me. I was NOT prepared. But God brought me through it--with a lot of help from Don, Mom, and Caroline! :)

I mean seriously, somebody help! :)

Next: a little less crazy--settled into our Birmingham house (JD two years old, and Luke six monthish?):

Sweet Luke James:

Fast forward a month or two I think. Here, Luke seems to be one-ish and Jon David three-ish :

Fast-forward again. Jon David is now about four, and Luke is two (I think). This was when James and Caroline came out to see us in Colorado for Thanksgiving:

And finally, two yrs ago at Sarah's wedding (Luke, 3 yrs, JD 5 yrs). And Caroline and I, well, we were two yrs younger here. ;)


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