Thursday, July 31, 2008

Home Away from Home

I apologize for the slack in posts.  I've been staying with my parents this week while Matt's out of town and we've been incredibly busy.  I've been helping my mother around the house with cleaning out my old bedroom and purging a heap of useless stuff.  It is amazing what you accumulate and how you think you'll never get rid of it, then one day, all of a sudden, you want to light it all on fire because it disgusts you to even imagine going through it all.  Despite my impatience, I've finished and what a great feeling, although I'm incredibly ashamed at myself for all the junk that I've held onto for so long.

We've also been doing some gardening and enjoying the fruits of our labor (well, Dad's labor...).  We've had fresh cucumbers, corn, green beans, tomatoes, cantaloupe, and grapes (my favorite!).  It has always been such a good feeling to be at my parent's home.  I love the outdoors and Matt and I just don't get to enjoy it as much in the city.  Soon, God willing, we'll be building down the hill from my parent's home and will get to enjoy our bare feet in the grass more often.  It has also been nice having help with Levi (you know how grandparents can be).  I feel like we've been on a mini vacation in our home away from home.  Although it has been wonderful spending time with my parents and just doing this and that around their home, I do look forward to Matt coming home...I miss having him around.  Plus, Levi is changing so much everyday.  I wonder how different he'll seem when Matt returns Sunday night.

Here's some pics from today...

This afternoon Levi and I were snappin' beans on the front porch and I think the combination of the exersaucer and the heat wore him out.  He fell asleep in seconds and apparently put his pacifier in his mouth.  The pictures below are of how I found him after I finished snapping beans.  

Today was my parent's 32nd wedding anniversary.  To celebrate, we went downtown T-ville to the summer "concert" series at the gazebo.  Can I get a "woo-hoo?"  I think the only exciting thing happening was with my little boy.  Here he is with his Pappy.  Take notice...he's sitting up a little bit!  

Here I believe he's had enough!  I couldn't agree with him more!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Romania Team Update

This afternoon, I was able to talk to my Matt, via Skype, and was glad to hear that the Romania Team, despite extreme weariness, are doing well. They arrived in Budapest yesterday and did some sightseeing for a few hours, which I'm not quite sure they'll remember considering their lack of sleep from traveling...jet lag is a beast! Today they drove into Romania and are staying in the city of Oradea. Tomorrow (well actually in a few hours for them), they will travel to the village where the children attending their camp are from and will go to church and eat with them. Monday morning they will go back to the village, get the children, and then off to camp until Saturday morning. It still amazes me that these parents, many of whom are Greek Orthodox, will allow their children to board a bus, full of strange Americans, and send their children off to a Christian camp. Praise the Lord! This is such an incredible opportunity for anybody to experience, but I'm especially excited that our students get to share in the joy of teaching others about Christ before they go off to college. Many of these Romanian children have not heard the Bible stories we grew up hearing and for some, they have not even heard of Christ. Please be in prayer for these children, the church in the village (I know the name, but I'm not even going to attempt to spell it...), and for our team of students, youth workers, and adults as they minister to these children within this upcoming week. It is a very exhausting camp, not to mention the fact that you never really recover from the time change (they're 7 hours ahead of us), so also be in prayer for the team as they play, teach, craft, and mold these children with energy they never knew they had. Also be in prayer for the homes that these children go back to after camp is over. Many of these children will make professions of faith and then return home to a family of unbelievers and a community who does not know the love of Christ. God will do amazing things in the lives of the Romanian children, their families, community, and in the lives of those serving...He is already and always does...

This is a picture of the camp in August, 2006

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Simple Reminders

Probably about a year ago, Pastor Michael used an illustration in the service that has been embedded in my mind ever since. He invited one of his sons up on the stage and had him stand facing a cross. Michael explained to the congregation how much he loved the church and those in the audience that day, but that he would never, NEVER, be able to sacrifice his son for any of us. There was silence, complete silence. I'm sure everyone was thinking of their loved ones and admitting to themselves that no matter the cause, they'd never agree to give up the life of their loved one for anybody.
Although that illustration made me appreciate God's sacrifice of His son, until Levi was born, I don't believe I fully understood that sacrifice. Let me back up and make this perfectly clear, I don't think my mind will ever wrap itself around the sacrifice made or the love that Christ had for us sinners when He chose to lay down His life for us. Now that I'm a parent, I guess I should say I have a greater appreciation of that sacrifice.

Saturday night Levi cried in a different way than he ever has. He stared deep in my eyes and was sobbing, uncontrollable sobbing. Tears were streaming down his face, his lips were quivering, he was more upset than I have yet to experience. I was overwhelmed with emotion while trying to console him. He wasn't hurt or scared, just tired and hungry. We spent the entire day in Charlotte visiting friends and it was well past his bedtime, so he was simply exhausted. Even though I knew he was okay and I knew that within a few moments, I would be able to calm him down, I was devastated to hear him so upset. It was then that I was reminded of the crucifixion of Christ. Matt and I raised the did God give up His only son to be publicly tortured and put to death for us? Levi was crying out to me and all I wanted was to make everything alright. I don't want any pain, embarrassment, harassment, or anything negative to happen to Levi. God loves us so much that, even though we are sinners, He gave his one and only son so that we could spend eternity with Him in heaven. Like I said earlier, I'll never be able to wrap my simple, immature mind around God's love for us. Have you thanked Him today?

"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Romans 5:8 (NLT)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Day of Firsts: First Cut, First Cold

As I shared yesterday, today was Levi's first haircut.  His wings are gone and in a plastic bag for keepsake purposes.  Not only did Levi have his first haircut today, but he also has his first cold :-(.  I know, I know, how cruel am I for taking him to get his hair cut at only 5 1/2 months with a runny nose...I'm terrible.  His MD suggested saline solution for his stuffy nose, so, 2 pharmacies later, we begin treatment.  I was very glad to discover that this saline solution also came with a nasal aspirator, as our current one isn't very efficient in sucking out the...well, you know.  But, what I didn't find in the box was a straight jacket which you need in order to administer the saline solution.  Not that I would ever be able to strap down my son...I say this in order to give you all a mental image of how incredibly difficult it is to squirt something into an infant's teeny, tiny nose while he is turning backflips, rolling over, and karate kicking me all at once.  You mothers out there I'm sure understand my dilemma.  Did I even get the solution in his nose, probably not...I don't believe it ever reach its destination.  I'm sure he swallowed some and of course most of his lower face was wet with what I'm assuming was the solution mixed with tears.  Poor baby!  He can't sleep or eat very well because both of these require breathing which is interrupted by his over abundance of....well, once again, you know.  All I want to do is hold him and love him...he is so pitiful.  

As for his haircut....wonderful experience, despite his cold.  Lori, his stylist, was extremely careful and patient with him.  At least he didn't perform the same as he does while I'm trying to squirt the saline in his nose, if that was the case, he would look brutal!  As you'll see, he looks just as precious now as he did before and, hopefully, not much different.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good Times

Can I just say that I'm lovin' mommy time with Levi!  We've had such a good week and it is only Tuesday!  As you'll see in the slideshow below, we spent some time at my mother's ("Koko") and with Mimi, my grandmother.  Today, Levi and I joined Lindsey (one of my very best friends) and her daughter, Layla, for our first play date.  Despite my flat tire (the 2nd one I've had in a month I should add...), we had a great time.  Levi tried out the swings on the playground and then got to meet Layla's bear, Harvey...Good times!  Layla was such a good friend.  She kept trying to get Levi to play her games even though all he did was wiggle on the floor, eat his hands, and squeal every now and then.  I guess he made an okay impression with Layla...she did manage to give him a couple of kisses and try to share her lunch!  

Tomorrow, I'll be blogging about Levi's 1st haircut :-(.  Daddy, and others, think the time has come to cut off Levi's wings, so we're going to get a little trim tomorrow evening.  For kicks, I styled Levi's hair during bath time this evening to celebrate his stylish moments.  Lindsey suggested I post some silly pics before we get his hair cut tomorrow...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Gracias!" (thanks for the title Grace)

For those of you who don't know, Matt and I help teach the 12th graders at Rich Fork Baptist. What a privilege it is to be associated with this group of students. They bring us such joy and in all honesty, they teach us. In today's society, our teens are taught to please and serve themselves, but our students are practicing a different kind of servanthood. They have decided to follow Christ's example and serve Him through loving others. Several of our students, along with others from our church, are going to Romania a week from Thursday. They have organized a camp for 40-50 kids, ranging from 6 years to approximately 20 years old, and will be sharing Christ through recreation, Bible stories, arts/crafts, and good old-fashion fellowship. I was blessed 2 years ago when I had the opportunity to go to Romania and participate in a similar camp. It was a wonderful experience and my life was greatly enriched as I know there's will be as well.

This past week, our Senior class quickly organized a last minute yard sale on Saturday to clean out Chris and Lindy's garage after their move to Kenya. (Side note...they sold their house in approximately 3 weeks...praise God!) Team Thompson offered their remaining treasures for us to sell towards our Romania trip (thank you, thank you!). All of our students have already paid for their trip, so we decided to use whatever money we made to meet a unknown need in Romania. We sold $400+ worth of stuff and cannot wait to see where the Lord directs the team to use this money.

Please be in prayer for our students and the adults traveling with them as they prepare to leave for Romania. For most of our students, this will be their first mission trip and their first time out of the country. Please pray for the children they will be ministering to, that the camp would run smoothly, that the team will see a need for the yard sale money, and for their safe travel. I will be anxiously awaiting their full report when they come home. Unfortunately, I will not be going with the team this year, however, I'll try to persuade Matt to submit a post on their trip when they return.

Thanks to Emily, Grace, Kevin and JJ who all made it out on such a short notice on Saturday and to Team Thompson for donating your things to sell...we love and miss you guys! I also want to thank the rest of our SS class for just being so great!

Here are some pictures from our yard sale on Saturday. Who said you can't entertain yourself in 90 degree heat???

Emily is dressed to impress. Hey Linders, where did you get this outfit???

Kevin and Grace battle it out for the best of Team Thompson's treasures.

Levi got to play dress up too!

I think Grace is Levi's new best friend...he was flirting most of the day.

Sorry to report, the wig pictured here didn't go towards our Romania money. It didn't find a new home on Saturday, only the trash.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More than Water...

Do you ever read or watch something that you can't get off your mind, no matter how small it is? You toss and turn all night with these images in your head and you wake up wondering if you ever slept. I wonder if this is what happened many times in the Bible leading people to seek out someone to interpret their dreams. I believe God lays things so heavily on our hearts to shake some sense in to us in hopes to spring us into action. Before Lindy left for Kenya, she gave me a book, Voices of Sudan by David Johnson. He is a photographer, teaching in Charlotte, who has traveled throughout the Sudan photographing the people he states "can no longer speak for themselves." The book is a little over a hundred pages consisting of photographs and stories from those trapped in the genocide that is continuing to violently rip apart a country. Naturally, I have an interest in Africa because of Chris and Lindy's service there, but, my interest in the Sudan genocide began several years ago when I read a book by three "Lost Boys."

I do believe it is becoming popular these days to have an interest in world affairs, especially in Africa. Angelia Jolie, Bono, Ben Affleck, Oprah, and several other pop culture icons are trying to raise awareness of the various plights the people of the Dark Continent suffer and, regardless of their reasons or intentions, I'm sure their efforts have raised money and awareness. What these people need along with water, medicine, education, and peace, is the Savior. I pray God protects and blesses the efforts of those who give up everything to serve Him in these dark places. For those of us who are not called to be missionaries in Africa, what are we doing? Are we being obedient in praying for these people and the missionaries that live among them? Are there groups or efforts you could give your time or money to that aim at meeting the needs of the Sudanese while introducing Christ to them? What is happening right now, every minute of the day, is too disturbing and sickening for many of us to think of. I believe that is why I was tossing and turning throughout the night. While I have water to swim in, wash my face, and water my flowers, many Sudanese risk their lives to taste. I have my family and they are safe. I can kiss, bathe, and feed Levi, while dreaming of his bright future. Right now, Levi is lying next to me without a care in the world and I'm so grateful for that. Meanwhile, many of the Sudanese do not know where their families are, let alone if they are alive, while others have to relive the nightmare of having their children snatched from their arms...or worse. The magnitude and severity of the reality these people live numbs me and it all seems hopeless. But, we know there is hope.

Why am I blogging this? Because...this has clouded my mind and my dreams, as it should. I admit, I don't know what my role is. What can I, in my simple and safe life, do for this people group? We have a responsibility and I'm praying the Lord will show me what my responsibility is to these people. What's yours?

For more information, please go to and click on the November posts under Chris and Lindy's blog archives. To find out more about Voices of Sudan, go to Please continue praying for the efforts in the Sudan and all of Africa. Also be in prayer for missionaries all across the world.

As David Johnson reminds us in Voices of Sudan...

"Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute."
Proverbs 31:8 (NIV)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Feels Good

***I apologize for the delay in submitting this post. We were at the Outer Banks during the week of the 4th and although I tried to update my blog on my vacation, my attempts were unsuccessful due to a poor internet connection. Oh well...I'm sure none of you were anxiously waiting for my next post anyway...

Family vacations have always been one of my most favorite things. For lack of a better way to describe them, they just make me feel good! I can't think of a better way to let off some steam and enjoy true fellowship and with my family. We sleep in (well for those without a 5 month old), toss grooming aside, cook our meals together, and just cut loose for a full week. We typically vacation during the week of July 4th in Avon, NC where my parents own a beach house. We spend the week lazily fishing, soaking up the sun, eating massive amounts of food (one of my other favorite pastimes), and finish the week with a half hour fireworks display, compliments of the Avon Pier next door to our home. This year we went with my parents, my brother and his family, and Auntie Lynda. My roommate from college lives a couple of hours away in VA Beach, so this year she and her family rented a condo and celebrated the 4th with us as well. Levi seemed to enjoy his first vacation...he honestly slept through most of it as you'll see in the slideshow to the right. Enjoy!