Thursday, March 3, 2011

Family Time Back Home: Gardens and Zoo

This is where it all began - literally. It was on this bench that we got engaged nearly 12 years ago! See the ring? In the same way that he surprised me with it in April of 1999, he caught me off guard with a big kiss the other day at the gardens. So we sat on that swing all those years ago, all in love and happy, best friends moving into real life together. And then we blinked...

...and this is what we saw when we opened our eyes:

I am overwhelmed by God's goodness and His unique plan and calling for our lives! Here are photos from our zoo-and-gardens day (didn't get many good ones at the zoo, unfortunately) I keep sitting down to work on this post, but am not feeling very sharp this late evening, and so words fail me. I'll just catch up my mercies list!

751 BB's dad allowing us to use his RV this week, so that we all had more room this week at mom and dad's

752 branch shadows on blinds

753 taking photos of chocolate

754 flashlight woods-walks (and daddies who grab 6 cheap flashlights at Walmart for the occasion)

755 woodsy sounds: rustling branches and leaves, frog songs, cricket melody chirring soft

756 wind

757 tinkling windchimes at mom's

758 solemn windchimes...

759 being reminded of Sabbath rest in Hebrews

760 being challenged to diligence in Hebrews

761 nighttime tears (I have a feeling we've all been having them here this week)

762 mama making bacon

763 soaring hawks and their cries

764 screeching jays and so many other joyful bird sounds

765 watching mom carry big ole CJ around on a walk, talking to her as they went along

766 rosy cheeks on my British-descended children after their first real sun of the season

767 schoolbooks, binders, papers

768 Gramma's giant cinnamon roll - split 9 ways

769 Gramma meeting us at the zoo for lunch

770 Seeing old friends at the zoo - what a wonderful surprise!

771 Cracker Barrel and lots of talk and laughter with dear friends - very rare and cherished fellowship

772 AH's first day of homeschooling, there in the RV this week - and I have to say: it's been a beautiful, special week in so many ways, but doing school with AH was probably my favorite thing...felt like something I'd been anticipating for so long...almost a relief to start in on teaching her

773 that the Lord is always present

774 strong arms when the tears do come

775 woods

776 kids running free and exploring in the country and woods

777 watching CA talk to herself, a piece of garden hose in her hand...I was in the RV and she didn't know I was watching as she carried on a conversation with ?? (so, so sweet!)

778 photo booths...all 8 of us in a photo booth!

779 seeing the animals at the zoo

780 dad working hard so he could have a few days off with us this week

Gramma met us on her lunch hour and we all ate before we went into the zoo. BB's sister, R, came to the zoo and gardens with us. She had her two sweeties with her: E, who just turned 2 and Baby Girl, who is 3 months old. It is because of R that we have the top two photos and several other great ones I didn't post. Thank you for coming, R, and also for being our photographer!

781 really old Cosby Show episodes on Netflix

782 going to Walmart alone today, stopping to photograph daffodils along the way

783 kind friends offering to watch most of the brood when we come back for finalization in May

784 lovely weather all week

785 back to life, back to reality

786 mom doing our laundry this week

787 that perfect song...a sweet one about adoption...hope to share it here eventually
One of the "chocolate"'s sitting on top of one of the many tufts of moss EG has collected this week. We really don't have moss where we live in Texas...too dry, too hot. And I have not eaten the chocolate mushroom yet - it's too pretty to eat!!

There is one thing that has come to mind a few times today, and that is the issue of God's allowing hard things to happen to people, to His children. There is much in the past 20 months that has been difficult, painful, confusing, and just plain ugly. Really ugly at times. I guess I want to encourage those going through question mark times: God is using it ALL to accomplish His good purposes. This verse from Acts has been coming to mind: This Man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross.  Acts 2:23 This was Peter speaking to the religious leaders after Christ had ascended to heaven after His resurrection. God did not rescue Jesus from His suffering, from the Plan that included His unjust torture and death. He chose that path for His Son and used the wicked actions of men to accomplish His will: our redemption. I cannot claim to understand this deep doctrine perfectly, or to be able to explain it just right, but it is encouraging to me. I can already see so many ways that God used the painful, the confusing, the ugly, for our good and His glory!

One other thing: it has been a good, happy week full of blessings from the Father. So many tender mercies rained down, from the daffodils to the sweetness of hearing AH laugh with her sisters. But I do have my really nervous moments! Mom of six?! Wow. Still can't believe it. And, there is healing yet to be accomplished, to be sure, and this is scary...and the adjustments to be made for all of us...among other things, AH has been an only child for 11 years and is now one of half a dozen sisters. Heavy grace, Jesus, heavy grace!  

Lord, you are so good.
We travel early and all day this Saturday. Have a great weekend, all!


  1. Lovely photos, all of them. I especially like the one of you walking along the path with all of your girls. Praying for you in this exciting time of adjustment!


  2. Happy, happy! I love how your beautiful family is spilling off the bench. What a lovely week.

    Thank you for your encouragement from Acts. Good for me to hear this morning.

    I echo your prayer for heavy grace.

  3. Love all the new family photos, especially the one of all the girls walking hand in hand!!

    We enjoyed our time with you as well, thank you for a great time of fellowship....even with my demanding husband :)