Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In 24 days . . .

She'll walk down a sandy aisle

and he'll take her hand

and they will both say, "I Do".

Have we been on an adventure lately!  Austin and Taylor moved their wedding from 2016 to 2014.  And while we are super excited--it has been insane,  crazy, a little hectic??  No matter all of that--I am thrilled to be gaining a new member in our family.  She already feels like she belongs.

Here are a few glimpses of what the wedding stuff looks like:

Yes,  in a little over three weeks  my oldest son will get married--I couldn't be happier for them both!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Here Gator Gator . . .

It's perfect spring weather in South Georgia and we are on Spring Break.  So off on a trip to the Okefenokee Swamp in Folkston, GA. 
When we arrived the forestry staff was out doing a controlled burn.  After the devastating wildfires a few years back, it was amazing to watch the fire burning in a controlled way.  We could have stayed and watched but for some reason they hurried us along--something about our safety. LOL!
The first thing we did was to stop at the Chesser Island Homestead.  The girls were amazed by the white sand in the yard and the lack of modern conveniences.  They assured me that they never had to take a bath in the hand-pumped, no hot water, bathtub.  They also thought the house was too small for 9 people.
On the way back to the van we encountered our first snake of the day.  We think it was either a kingsnake or a black racer.   I'm sure that it could have been many kinds of snakes actually, but I do know that it was black and quick.
Next, we had a picnic lunch and then we headed out to the hike to the tower.  We had our friend Violet with us and she got the luxury of being pushed in the stroller.
All in all we saw 7 snakes, 3 alligators, 3 turtles and 1 egret (I think).    We heard several alligators doing their calls to each other out on the boardwalk.  They sounded like they were really close and on both sides of the boardwalk.  This was by far our best adventure out into the swamp because the gators were so close, but we couldn't see them.
I missed a picture of the smallest baby snake--it was too quick.  It was about 6-7 inches long and curled up on top of the water.  When we stopped to look, it swam away fast.
We love that we can be out with nature, but far away for safe measures.  Check out some of my favorite pics of the day courtesy of the Okefenokee Swamp.

What a fun and educational day all in one!  We went to the Okefenokee Park in Folkston, GA.  It seems more natural to me and less commercialized than the park in Waycross.  It's a great day trip if you live in the area.

Friday, February 14, 2014

And the Service Award Winner for the Month of February is . . .

Our very own Miss Hannah HaiYan Agee!

Hannah got an award today for having a smile on her face, a friendly attitude to others, and treating teachers and classmates with respect.  She was chosen for the month of February out of all of the 3rd grade classes.

Sailors from the USS Florida presented the awards to the students who won them. 

Hannah was so proud and so were we!

 I am excited to see her growing into this young lady who wants to do her best and shine with love for others.  Hannah has great compassion for the "underdog" and goes out of her way to be a friend.

And this is what her teacher wrote about Hannah--that her words were kind, helpful and encouraging to others.  Sound familiar? 

"Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." Ephesians 4:29


Friday, February 7, 2014

Until They Walk Down the Aisle

This will be one of my FAVORITE DAYS of their Lives.

The Father/Daughter Dance.

It's tonight--but the planning has been going on for a while.  We got Hannah's dress about 6 months ago for $7.00 at Goodwill.  She has tried it on more than once and asked how many more days till she got to wear her "Cinderella Dress".  Oh how these girls like to be girly!

Sara's dress was a hand-me-down from my sister's older girls.  She changed her mind more than once, but she settled on this one when we got Leighanne's dress on this past Wednesday.  Her dress was marked down to $1.99 (another Goodwill steal).  And Wa La--three beautiful yet thrifty girls heading off on a date with their Daddy.

And that good looking man with his daughters paid full price for his Tall-sized clothes. (I have looked and looked, but he never scores any good deals--something about being 6'5"--oh well).

Here's a little photo montage.

Leighanne(almost 12)

Sara -- 16

Hannah -- 10

Elissa and Zane Joined Ben and the girls for a Pre-Dance Supper.

So until they make that sweet walk down the aisle to their forever prince--Daddy makes a great Date!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Can I just Say--OUCH!

God knows me so intimately!  He knows exactly what I need--even if it hurts.  And I don't mean a little ouch, I mean a BIG, FAT, OUCH!!!

Let me explain.

A church in our community had the Compassion Experience available to tour.  (On a side note:  Go, if you get the chance--it is well worth the visit.)  A friend from high school was volunteering at it yesterday and sent me the link.  I had planned to go, but I guess I needed that little nudge.  So I made reservations, and as a bonus--we got to see each other and do a little catching up.

As we were listening to the stories of Brinda from India, Julian from Kampala, Uganda, and Reuben from Bolivia, I was reminded--those children could have been my girls.  My heart just about broke. It's so easy to forget that my girls could be facing what each of these children face on a daily basis. Reality sets in when you see the truth in front of your eyes.  There are literally millions of children who do not have food, clothing, or shelter which are the basics.  They also aren't getting medicine, education or clean water.  And--while that stings--if you have any kind of compassion--that stings, that's not what not knocked me to my knees.

No, that came this morning.  It's no coincidence that the Bible Study I am doing at this moment, has been delayed and postponed many times so that today would be lined up perfectly with my visit to Compassion yesterday.

Here's my verses that we studied today . . .

James 5: 1-6  NLT  "Look here, you rich people, weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you.  Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags.  Your gold and silver have become worthless.  The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh in hell.  This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment.  For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay.  The wages you held back cry out against you.  The cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.  You spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every whim.  Now your hearts are nice and fat, ready for the slaughter.  You have killed good people who had no power to defend themselves against you."

Oh My GOODNESS!  This smacked me right between the eyes.  Cause if I'm keeping it real here--I have probably just lived one of the most luxurious years of my 44 years.  I took 5--yes, 5 vacations this year.  AND I could sit here and justify a couple of them, but I will not.   Because all in all, I may not be the person described as failing to pay others what I owe, but I am the person living the good life and living it well.

You know what hurts even more? I KNOW BETTER!!!

I have traveled to third world countries and seen first hand the life of poverty others live.  I have sat in homes with precious people who love Jesus, but have no earthly riches.  I have held and loved on little orphan babies who may never be adopted into families.  I KNOW BETTER!!!

Lord, Forgive Me!  Forgive me for knowing the truth, and not taking it seriously.  Forgive me for not staying grounded in you.

I don't want to be that person.

I want to be the person who is satisfied with what I already have. The woman that freely gives to others, without thinking of that new ________________(fill in the blank). 

So what do I do from here? I will wrestle with this for a while.  I don't have an easy answer.  I think this will take time for me to figure out exactly what God would have me to change. 

This I do know--at the end of 2014--I want to be able to have given to others more lavishly then I will have spent on myself.

May I be reminded of this daily.