Friday, December 17, 2010

A Little Christmas Cheer

Bethany and Lydia having breakfast with Santa. It was Liddy's first time seeing the big guy and she was all smiles and no tears.

Mr and Mrs Claus

Thomas family Christmas: the Dad and Sisters with Liddy for her 1st Christmas

JP got a present, too!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Hear it Nooowwww......

I am so psycho these days! But I can't help it.... I hear the stop and go of the little mail truck outside in my neighborhood!!! I jumped up and got all excited. Our last pieces of requested paperwork are in that truck. I am taking my girls and heading to Columbia to get it all state-sealed and it will be off and out to Washington DC for the national seal. One week ago today we got the call that knocked the wind out of me. I have cried everyday knowing that we aren't waiting for our next travel call but we are waiting, again, on this updated info to get to Ethiopia. I wake up thinking about it, I go to sleep thinking about it, it's always on my mind. But I have found peace this week just knowing that My God is there and here and He is the creator of all things and nothing happens without Him allowing it to happen. I really rest in that knowledge.

I knew I was getting package today because have have been stalking my USPS tracking number like my life depended on it. I sat down in my comfy recliner after I dropped B off at school and put Lyd down for her nap and plopped the laptop on my lap and stalked away. It said that it was "Out for Delivery" and I made up a little song and sang it out loud. Some know that I make up a little ditty for things that need to be sang. Like the Diaper Genie, or the question "What you gonna wear to school today?", or special occasion phrases like "Out for Delivery"!!! So exciting. So I'm off to get this stuff to Columbia.

Pray my paperwork through Washington and over the Atlantic and straight past the translating office and to MOWA!!! Chant it with me... "BRING HIM HOME, BRING HIM HOME, BRING HIM HOME". I'll make little ditty writers out of you before it's all over with....

Monday, December 13, 2010

A fitting Devotion in my Inbox

I LOVE, I mean LOVE to listen to 106.9 The Light weekdays from 9-12. It's my way of unwinding. I will turn on the radio while B is in school and listen and clean and just emerge myself into something deeper for a little while. This is Billy Graham's listener supporter radio station and the morning programs consist of 30 min sermon segments. While I have my favorites and so I signed up for James McDonald's podcast and email devotionals. This morning I hear the "ding" of my Blackberry and find this very fitting devotion waiting for me....

The Benefits of Waiting

"I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord." - Psalms 40:1–3

The longer I live, the more I come to understand that life doesn't have a lot of green lights. There are hardly any times where God is like, "Do you want that? Have it right now. Why didn't you ask sooner?" More often God is like, "I'd like you to wait."
"No! I want it right now!"
God is like, "Listen! You might think you want it now, but I'm going to give it to you when you're fit to receive it. I'm going to use the process of waiting to shape you into the woman or the man that I want you to be. Getting it now wouldn't advance My purposes for you. I want you to wait."
Waiting is not an easy thing. Waiting is not passivity. Waiting on God is not the absence of efforts. Waiting is "I've done everything I know how to do but it's not enough and now I am waiting on God to do for me what I could not do for myself."
That is such an important lesson to learn. Let me tell you about some of the benefits that you get when you wait on God. Here are five verses that spell them out.

According to Psalm 40:1 when we wait on God, He hears our prayers: "I waited patiently for the Lord and He inclined to me and heard my cry."
According to Isaiah 64:4 when we wait on God, He acts on our behalf: "Nor has the eye seen a God like You who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him." That's what God is fired up about. He works for the people who wait. I wonder how many things we don't get because we're out there working for it ourselves beyond what we should and God's like, "Would you just stop that? I act on behalf of the people who wait for Me."
Psalm 25:3 says that when we wait on God, He keeps us from shame: "Indeed none of those who wait for You O God will be ashamed."
Isaiah 40:31 says that He gives strength to those who wait: "Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength."
Psalm 37:34 tells us that those who wait for God are exalted: "Wait for the Lord and He will exalt you."

Bottom line; God always makes it worth our while to wait for Him!

James McDonald
And so we wait....

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I guess I've put this off as long as possible thinking that it was all a misunderstanding. But it appears to be reality and I must face it.
On Wednesday I got a phone call from our social worker. It appears we didn't actually pass court. Instead of an approval to bring our son home in our file, it was a request for updated information. It has been so long since we initially sent in our dossier to Ethiopia there are some documents that needed to be updated. We had updated our fingerprints and other necessary documents for the US, but Ethiopia now wants some other paperwork updated.
I've been sick to my stomach and crying for days. I can not believe we are going through this. I thought the nightmare of the wait and uncertainty was over. All we want to do is bring our son home. The first day I tried to put it into perspective but I couldn't. The fact is, our son is in an orphanage day after day and we have a pretty great family right here that wants to love him and provide for him. What other perspective is there? But the next day I did convince myself that it could be worse. I could have gotten a phone call saying that he was very sick or had an accident or worse. IT COULD BE WORSE. I have so much to be thankful for. I have a husband that has been through the ups and downs of this journey with me, I have two sweet and smart and precious little girls that are happy and healthy, and I have a son that is being well taken care until he is under my roof. We have a happy and secure life and the promises of a Savior. It has taken days to make my "blessed" list because I just want to sink in a hole of despair about this.
I do understand that it is really for the interest of the children of Ethiopia. It is the governments responsibility to make sure all their children are in safe and legit homes. Sadly, there are people out there who exploit and take advantage of orphans. It is ET's job to protect them. In the grand scheme of JP's life, what's another month of waiting?
I'm not one to throw out the "Sunday School" verses but all week the Lord is pressing this verse on my heart.
"Trust Me with all your heart and lean not on your own limited understanding and knowledge, but in all things acknowledge that I am in control and I have gone before you and I will make your journey straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Lord, I know that You have gone before me in this situation and You are there now working on my behalf. I know that Your word tells me that You have only good things for Your children and even the bad things for our good. I trust that Your ways are higher than mine and my earthly view is not able to span time like Your heavenly view. I know that You are a God of miracles and You can work a miracle in this situation if You so choose. I pray for JP this day, that You continue to surround him with love and prepare his heart for the day when he leaves the only home he's known. We give You all the glory and honor in bringing us to this place and I give over all my worries to You, who is ready and able to give hope. In the name of Jesus I pray these things, Amen.

Friday, December 03, 2010

We offically have a son!!

Just writing the title of this post is bringing tears to my eyes.  Yesterday flying over Ethiopia was a sight to see.  I never tire of God's creation and how different He has made each place and each person.  I see rolling hills and flat land.  Patches of brilliant greens and dull browns.  It's all woven together to paint a beautiful picture.  Stepping out of the airport and hearing, seeing and smelling a different, foreign, culture never ceases to amaze me.  All of these beautiful people who don't look or act like me intrigues the inner parts of my heart and mind.  The imagination of my Maker overwhelms me and I feel privileged to experience it all.
Today was a surreal experience for us.  We woke up and unlike the other families, I wasn't nervous at all about the court proceedings.  We drive through the city and make it to the federal court building.  After several flights of stairs and many winded Americans:) we make to a semi-large room filled with other families from different agencies.  We wait for our orphanage to be called.  Each family anticipates hearing their child's name to go into the room.  It seems like families are coming out after a minute or less.  I'm still not nervous at this point.  Our orphanage is called and our families start being summoned one at a time.  I start crying after the first family receives good news.  Soon, JP's, name is called(his Ethiopian name) and we enter.  The judge is a beautiful Ethiopian woman who over sees ALL court cases!  What a busy lady, glad she wasn't our sick on this day:)  She quietly, as custom in Ethiopia, ask us several questions.  I get really nervous and Joey takes over!  She finally ask, "Do you understand that this is permanent?", us: "Yes". She smiles and says "Congratulations, He is yours"!  My heart was overwhelmed with joy!  We have a son!
We go to a coffee house to celebrate our good news with GREAT Ethiopian coffee and popcorn!  We go to a nice mall and have a fabulous lunch with shopping and then we all canceled our "mountain" sight-seeing plans and asked to see our children.  We got to spend the afternoon with JP and pretty soon he was sitting in our laps and letting us hug and kiss on him.
Today is a day that will forever be etched in my heart and soul.  JP we love you and can't wait to come back and bring you home!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Face to Face

J P,
We are such proud parents at this moment! After all of our flight delays, we stepped out of the airport at 10:45 in Addis Ababa and went straight to visit you. The other families had been visiting yesterday and all morning and when we first arrived you and the other children were having a very busymorning with all the parents playing with you.  Your dad and I went to you but you shyed away from us.  Daddy did get you to kick a ball with him before the Nannies took you inside for lunch. I noticed that you barely ate any of your food but drank all your milk!  You and your big sister share this common trait! Once the Nannies brought out the dum-dums you were done with your food. Your special friend was there and very happy to greet us and play with us.  While you were eating she came and took your block.  You calmly called the Nanny and pointed to tell on her.  WHen the Nanny didn't understand, you got up and pointed harder!  THe Nanny went to her and she took off running with a smile on her face!  The Nannies report that you "fight and play with her a lot" since you are close to the same age. 
She was an important tool to getting you to warm up to me and your dad.  At one point, you cried when we tried to show you too much attention and we had to give you some time to come to us on your own. I helped convince you to do that by giving you candy:)  The Nanny then came and sat with me and your friend and got a a pile of books to get you close to me.  It worked! And before long you and your friend were laughing at me make animal noises and fishy faces.  Your friend especially liked the fishy face and belly-laughed each time I did it and this would make you laugh at her.  It warmed my heart each time I heard you sweet laugh or saw that big smile.  You kept pointing to the kitty because you wanted me to meow.  I think you and Bethany will get along just fine:)
Soon after I was able to cuddle you some and get you comfortable, we had to leave.  We tried to get you to wave bye-bye to us but you started to get shyagain. After we turned to leave you ran to the door and waved bye bye to us and gave us a big smile.  This was the best moment of our day with you! 
We understand that it will take you time to love us and trust us.  We are okay with that and will give you as much time as you need.  But you must know that we have loved you long before this meeting.
We are going to visit you tomorrow and I know that we gained good ground today.
With Love and Patience,
Your Parents

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

My Dearest JP,

Well, if it were a perfect world, we'd be soaking in the sights and sounds of your birth country and feeling all the night-before flutters in anticipation of meeting you.  Instead, I'm sitting under the golden arches in Frankfurt, Germany hoping to get to Ethiopia by morning to see your beautiful face for the first time.
Your dad and I have had quite the journey thus far and I wanted to write it down before the details left me.  We drove to Atlanta in fog and downpour yesterday and arrived at Hartsfield Airport at about 4 PM.  Our flight was scheduled to leave for Frankfurt at 6PM.  Luck so had it that our aircraft was struck by lightening landing in ATL!  You'll soon find out that your mama is a nervous flier and this news only frazzled me more than I normally am at an airport.  If that wasn't enough, I spotted two very suspicious passengers booked for our flight!  At some point between 6PM and 10PM when we finally left, the TSA came to our gate pacing around my suspects!  They left without find but I was still nervous to board our lightening-struck aircraft that suspicious fellas on it.  We were in the very back of the economy zone and your dad's lap tray wouldn't stay up for the entire flight!  Don't get me wrong, we're economy type of folk, but for your sake I might book business or first class when we come back to bring you home.  We had very turbulent conditions and your dad and I both thought we might get sick.  Daddy even broke out in a sweat and had to get out his barf bag! 
We touched down in Frankfurt to a picture perfect winter scene and the land blanketed in snow.  It was sight to see but once again, made your nervous mama scared we'd skid off the runway.  Thankfully we touched down with no problems:)  We missed our connecting flight and were redirected 4 times before we had to wait for 1.5hr to get our next flight.  Once I got to the booking desk I politely informed the attendant that we had to get a flight before the next day so that we could meet our son before our court date.  Evidently Germans aren't use to this kind of helpful direction from their fliers because I was asked not to get hysterical!  We got it all worked out and we are now enduring our 9 hr layover before boarding our Ethiopian-bound plane.  I can't wait to see your sweet face and put all these travels woes behind me.  Seeing you will be all worth the setbacks we've encountered. 
More to come from your hysterical Mother....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Because of Love

We have been so overwhelmed with your love and support. I put our donations together on Friday night. Joey and Bethany went to the Clemson basketball game and I had time to gather everything we had received thus far and organize. At one point I was hoping no one would come by unexpectedly because they would have been concerned. I was bawling while putting all this stuff together! I am a bit emotional right now any way. So many conflicting emotions are competing with each other. While I am elated to meet JP for the first time, I am dreading the long trip to only come home without him. It's going to be heartbreaking to leave our little boy behind. It has really hit me that we are going half-way across the world without our girls. It's so hard to take such a big trip without our children. Lydia is only 9 months old and it's killing me to leave her. But I will decide to Trust the Lord in knowing that He loves my children, all 3, even more than I do. I Trust that this whole process is in His perfect timing and in His able hands.
Mostly, I wanted this post to be about your giving and our great appreciation. I was so overwhelmed with a feeling of love and support while putting our donations together that I could barley get it done. So glad I was alone in the house, except for Lyds and she can't use words:), to pack the donations because Joey might have thought I was on the edge. All that said to say "THANK YOU". Your gestures will always be remembered and a part of our son's journey.

We got soooo many diapers, cloth and disposable! I even got a donation from a complete stranger! I was ordering Lydia some cloth diapers (I know! A whole different subject for a whole different post!) when she saw the link to our blog and read about our journey! She donated a good amount from her own shop! If you are in the market for cloth diapering I must tell you to support this sweet woman at .
Several of you donated formula. Lots of our physician friends gave in this way. I also received $55 dollars and used it on cloth diapers and formula. I did get another generous donation of $100! I will be using this in-country to buy goods that I see the orphanages need once I get there.

My living room was taken over with all our goods!!!

Joey's parents Sunday school class took donations and one family friend got a generous donation from Gerber of cloth diapers and lots of onsies! We got a bunch of clothing from other donors, too.

TONS of baby wash and diaper cream samples from some of our physician friends:) Also plenty of lotion, ointment, some medication and thermometers.

Toys and fun things for the kids.

And it's packed, barely!

It was only a few weeks ago that we got an update, so I really wasn't expecting anything before our trip.But we got one last week! He looks so happy and healthy. JP has gained over 8lbs since he entered the orphanage and at 27 lbs, he weighs more than his big sister! Our last update said that he had a friend that he "played with and fights with a lot." I figured out who her parents are and she will actually be leaving to come to the US shortly after we make our court visit. I'm glad we will get to meet his special buddy and get a picture of the two of them before she leaves!

Please remember our family in prayer this week. Pray for safe travels and for me to not be a total baby about leaving me kids! The ones that I will be coming back to and the one that I will be going back to get. It's going to be hard on all of us and I'm most worried about this. Pray that I don't forget anything important like our passports or something! God Bless you all for your support and generosity.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pure and genuine religion...

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
James 1:27

Hello Family and Friends!
We are beside ourselves with excitement about our upcoming court date in Ethiopia! It will be our first time meeting JP face to face and it will be the trip that makes him legally our son!!!! Sadly, we will have to leave the country without him until he is issued a Visa from the US Embassy. This can take 1-4 months after this initial trip. People usually travel within 6-8 weeks though. We will cross our fingers and pray for speedy proceedings.
Any who, this email is to get you involved in helping the orphans of Ethiopia. We will bringing 3 Rubbermaid tubs full of donations for JP's orphanage and the other 2 orphanages that are affiliated with Bethany Christian Services in Ethiopia.
We will be leaving Nov. 29 and coming home Dec. 5. I will need all donations by Nov. 21 to get them ready for taking. Don't feel obligated to donate, I just know there are several friends and family that want to help and be a part of the process. Not only will it be a blessing for our little man, but to other children without families that are struggling in an impoverished country.

Recommended donations:

Top five most requested items
1.Disposable diapers-all sizes,
2.Powdered formula,
3.Medications and toiletries: antibiotic cream, baby thermometers, diaper rash cream, baby oil/lotion, hand sanitizer, etc,
4.Clothing:sweaters, pants, socks, and shoes, especially for children ages 3-9. This request is for Bethany Sponsorship Families, not for the orphanages
5.Shool/craf supplies and education activities for all ages

Other items to consider:
Infant and children's vitamins,
Fer-in-sol infant iron drops,
One-piece PJs,
Crib sheets,
Baby bottles: plastic with normal nipples,
nipples for regular bottles,
Infant sippy cups,
Cloth Diapers

Personally, I would say the most important items to send would be cloth diapers. Most children are clothed diapered, including our JP. Disposables are more expensive in ET and therefore the nannies will only change their disposables about 3x a day. Which leads to the next item, diaper cream. Thankfully, JP has not been reported with diaper rash but I know several families that children had severe diaper rash to the point of open wounds and lesions. Formula and medication/vitamin's. Any typical baby item would be great and of course the little ones would love some toys, too. After all they are children:)

I hope this is informative but if you have any questions please email me. If you know of someone who would be interested in giving please pass along the information. Sunday school classes or your church or your child's preschool may be looking for a service project and we'd be happy to be your subjects!
Much love to all. Thank you in sharing in our excitement of finally bringing our son home.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Mommy, do you like my picture of Jesus?"

So, we were in the car yesterday and Bethany was playing with her Leap Pad thingy. One of the games ask you to follow "Scout" digging and when you stop it should be a picture. Well, B is never patient enough to "follow Scout" so she just draws her own picture. She will finish and tell me what the picture is that she drew. She looked up at me and said "Mommy, do you like my picture of Jesus?"
Here it is....

Need I say more?

Monday, October 04, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

As much as hate September, I love October! It's my birthday month and it's Halloween and it's football and crisp air and leaves turning and switching off of the A/C and Salted Carmel Hot Chocolate at Starbucks! It kicks off the holiday season!!! We spent the weekend enjoying the 1st of October, here are a few pics....

B, Hudson and Hayes at the homecoming floats at Clemson. Not sure who the other kid is but he sure isn't showing his Clemson pride in that yellow???

We have kicked off the month with Greenwood's Harvest Fest 2010 at the Connie Maxwell Farm. We went with the Wiles and enjoyed lots of great food and music and USC chaplain's Adrian Dupree. An awesome speaker. The kids ran around like crazy and had a good time
in the cool fall evening.

Bethany kept tackling Austin. Nothing like a good game of chase. Look at the surprise on his little face. Later Austin threw up right in the middle of the field and we felt sure it was because Bethany wouldn't get off of his stomach! The other little girl is Kate from her class in school.

Gabby and Lydia hung out together, too!

We ended our kick-off to October weekend at our favorite Sunday restaurant, Sweet Peas!

Here are the girls on the bench outside of Sweet Peas after church!
Happy Fall Ya'll!!!
"For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is recieved with thanksgiving..."1 Timothy 4:4

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's been a long September

Those that know me best and even read this blog regularly know that I dread September. While I was starting this post that Counting Crows song, Long December, kept replaying in my mind. Because I feel that way about September. I mean 2010's September couldn't drag out more if it added 5 more days to the end of it.
Right now I sit in that deep grief that sometimes can't even be felt. Of course, I've experienced this before but I had forgotten the feeling until it came upon me again. The days, weeks and even months after my mom's death are a blur. I can barely remember her funeral service. It's because I was chest deep in pain and loss. I always vividly remember being right beside her as she took her last breath and it being an intimate moment that was given by God as a gift among the heartache. September is never the month to celebrate her life, it just doesn't seem right. But it does always bring me an awareness of the brevity of life and an urgency to love and live while I can.
Last year when I wrote this post I never could have imagined that almost to the day I would be letting go again. The last 4-6 weeks have that blur effect. The days just run together in a string of lasts. The last time Gamo came to Greenwood, the last time she saw the girls, the last thing she sewed for me, the last time she was well enough to walk without my help, the last time we had a conversation, the last time she drank and ate, the last time.... I was able to be there for a lot of last but she waited until I was gone for her last breath.
Today I'm feeling drained and numb from her loss. She meant so much to me and my girls. She was truly a one-of-a-kind. She can't be confused with someone else because she was just that different. A bright yellow in the middle of gray. The hardest part of a loss is finding a new normal. So much of my daily life included her. There are literally 15 times during the day that I want to pick up the phone and call about something the girls did. Or talk about getting the fabric for the annual dress making we do in the fall for B. I was looking forward to week long visits in Memphis to ward off my homesickness. But I will get by and find a new normal. The loss never fades but the hurt does dull with time.
The Matriarchs of my family are gone and now I must step up. I hope that I get the best of the both of them.

From the moment Lydia was born Gamo kept saying, "She doesn't even look like a newborn! She's exceptional!" Only from the mouth of a Grandmother...

Mother's Day and Lydia's Baby Dedication. She prided herself on looking young and was on cloud nine when people mistook her for my mother. "You don't look old enough to be her Grandmother!". "Oh, I'm actually a Great-Grandmother!"

Always so proud of Kara. She told Kara she was #1 just like she had always been.
Christmas at Uncle Terry's, 2009
Gamo and Bethany on her 1st Halloween. She and Bethany shared a very special relationship. Gamo stayed with us so much during Joey's intern year. She was there for all of Bethany's milestones.

Peace eluded from Gamo when she came home on Hospice. A quality I had never really seen her hold. She had come to terms with her illness and with her faith. A life-long journey of seeking out God and God being faithful in showing himself to her. I will rest in seeing the fruit of Peace in her discovery of the truth of God's word. The gift that I will treasure among this sorrow.

"But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart, and with all your soul." Deuteronomy 4:29

Friday, September 10, 2010

Proud Big Sister

I wanted to share some pics from KK's first VARSITY game! I can't believe she is old enough to be in high school!?!?! I couldn't wait to see her gleaming under the Friday night lights, it took me back. But she did great. I remember how nervous I was my first varsity game with the whole student body glaring down at me and worrying I was not going to know the cheer the captain called. Oh, the worries of a high schooler... Anywho, here she is, Kara McKenzie, making her varsity debut for the Travelers Rest Devildogs (sad she wasn't a General, but only few can be so lucky)! You did a great job!

Halftime she meandored over to her big sister...
Proud parents

Joey loved wearing his blue and gold!
Looking all grown up:(

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Half a year already???

Liddy, I can not believe 6 months have gone by since we brought you home from the hospital! You are doing great and have been such a joy to us. We can't take you anywhere without you drawing a crowd with your gummy smile. You are the spitting image of your daddy and everyone loves the blue eyes that you share with him.
You are sleeping 12 hrs at night and take a 2-3 hr morning nap and a 1.5-2hr afternoon nap. Sometimes you even take a cat nap in the evening! You have been eating 3 "meals" a day since you were 4 months and taking 4 bottles too!
You are actually trying to crawl but right now you are doing a great job at belly scooting to get your toys. Like your sister, you love Cruz. When he comes in every morning you giggle at him while I feed you your breakfast. You come to the YMCA with me and do a really good job, with the exception of one day. Your dad wants me to stop turning on the noise machine but I still think you need it with your noisy 3 yr old sister:) You love Bethany and get so excited when she focuses her attention on you. Today you were giggling at her while she threw a fit in the car!!
We are enjoying every moment with you, Liddy. I savor each day b/c I know I can never get these precious months back. We love you!

So happy on her half-birthday!
Her gummy grin that we love so much. Who wouldn't stop and babble with her?

Her sitting-up trick...

Sunday, August 01, 2010

REFERRAL!!! And other life changing news...

We are busting at the seams with all sorts of wonderful news! First and foremost we want to announce that we have FINALLY been matched with our Ethiopian son! It's a journey that started 2 1/2 yrs ago and seemed like it would never end but here we are in the final stages of bringing him home. He is a beautiful and healthy 15 month old. He is in a small orphanage right now that has almost as many nannies as children. So that is wonderful news. We will give him Joey's name, Joseph Pearson, and call him J.P. Our family has been praying specifically for certain things in the life of this child that we were yet to know and God was faithful to those prayers. We prayed that he would have attention and love while not in our care and he been loved in his 15 months of life. Unfortunately we are unable to post pictures or too many details about him until our adoption is finalized and we bring him home. I really believe we were blessed with this referral after an act of obedience in another area of our life.

Two weeks ago we decided that we needed to move where God was calling us to and it's not here in Greenwood. In the same week that Joey started working for Ware Shoals Family Practice we also put in our notice to leave on Jan. 31, 2011. In 6 months we will be moving to Memphis, TN to work with a ministry called Christ Community Clinics. They have 5 clinics in the inner city areas of Memphis and move into these under served communities and work and start churches in neighborhoods. We did a rotation last May and loved it but when it came down to deciding to stay or leave this summer we did the most easy and comfortable thing. God worked on our hearts and we realized that we made a mistake and it wasn't too late to right this wrong. We will probably we traveling to Ethiopia to bring home JP around the same time that we move. It should make for an interesting year of changes and blessings. Pray with us as we move into this next phase of life and leave the comfort of the known and move into the unknown. I'm anticipating the things that God has in store for us!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Swimming like a fish!

We had a great vacay in Garden City with all our family and friends. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Bethany did start swimming all on her own. I think she didn't want to be out done by her big cousin Hudson when he started swimming without his swimmies at the beach too. Here are some pics of our week.

Miss B in her sun hat

Sam's Corner

Rusty Roo's Birthday celebration

Mommy and Daddy's night out. The grandparents kept all the kids while all of us went out one night.

Joey, Billy and Charley. They were coming to the beach together since they were babies and now they have babies that they're bringing to the beach!

Our little olympian...
Lydia relaxing poolside

Bethany, Blake, Reed, Cy Marie and Anna Cate

My sweet family

Friday, July 09, 2010

July 4th weekend

We spent the 4th on Lake Cherokee like we've done so many times before. The house was full and so were our hearts. It was so nice to be with the whole family and we had lots of reasons to celebrate. Hudson had his 4th birthday on Thursday and we had a little party for him and Doug had just celebrated his 60th birthday and Joey's graduation.

This is Hudson blowing out his Lighting McQueen cupcake. Liddy is dangling in the background...

Adrienne, Macy and I on Kabob night.

Elba taking B for a canoe ride. We had some technical difficulties with the boat so had to find a new mode of water transport.

Danny and his sister came to visit for the day and went to Oconee Falls.

I bet you didn't know that Hudson and B could kayak.....

The Patrick Family at Dee and Gray's annual bbq. It's a big broad and Rusty's not even married yet!

Our family before the 4th bbq

My sweet patriotic girl! We were taking a late evening cruise around the lake. You've gotta love those quiet and still evenings. (Note: every little girl needs a head light at the lake. You know, just in case your in the likely situation of being out in the woods by yourself at night:))

The sun setting over the Appalachian Mnts

As much as I am blessed and forever grateful to our founding fathers and those who have died fighting for my freedom. I remember that first and foremost I am a citizen of heaven and my home is not here. If not for my freedom and right to worship I may be like the millions of others that have never had the opportunity to find the hope and peace of salvation. Today Joey and I prayed for unreached people groups around the world and those that are persecuted for simply trusting Jesus as their Savior. I hope you lift your voices tonight in prayer and pray for the church around the world. The ones meeting behind closed doors, or hiding bibles in secret places, fearing for their lives, being shunned from their families and despised by their neighbors. Simply because they are believers. Pray for encouragement and comfort as they walk a road many of us will never have to walk because we have the privilege to worship freely.
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." Phi 3:20