Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sand Dollars from Tarpon Springs

While at a conference in Palm Harbor, the church treated us to a boat ride through the waterways of Tarpon Springs. They docked us on an island before turning back, and let us meander it for about 30 minutes. I never brought my phone for pictures... I had visions of it flying into the water. Dan brought his, and has video of dolphins swimming and of Savannah holding the shell of a huge horseshoe crab. I will have to get those from him and make another post. 

While on the island we were able to collect whatever we wanted and bring it back with us. The boat guide said there may be things they will have to tell us to leave, but thankfully no one came back on board with a dolphin or a Bald Eagle.

Our kids did find the treasure of sand dollars, and then while we were walking back to the boat a scuba diver flagged us over to his boat and gave us dozens more. 

It was pretty neat, but despite our best preparations, several of them have been broken in the miles we have traveled since then. Today Savannah and I inspected them, and made some intentional discoveries... basically we broke them up the rest of the way. 

We still have a few in tact, but the ones that were cracked or broken we checked out the insides to see if the stories I had heard were true. 
 Sure enough, there were 5 dove like pieces in each one! Just like the poem I had read so long ago.

The legend of the Sand dollar
That I would like to tell

Of the birth and death of Jesus
Found in this lovely shell.

If you will examine closely, 
You'll see that you find here
Four nail holes a fifth one
Made by a Roman's spear.

On one side the Easter Lily,
It's center is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
And led them from afar.

The Christmas Poinsettia
Etched on the other side
Reminds us of his birthday,
Our happy Christmas tide.

Now break the center open
And here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
To spread good will and peace
This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me.
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Beach Bocce!

While in LArgo we have a favorite beach to visit. It is usually pretty scarcely populated, and perfect for viewing the sunset as it is on the gulf coast.
 Combine that with Bocce Ball... another favorite past time for the guys, and it is surely a win-win!
 It was fun to watch them have to change up their strategy to compensate for the absolutely no-roll factor. They all got pretty goo though, and it often came down to measuring. Well, pacing off a little here or there. They aren't that serious of players!
 The TOSS!!
Pretty much my prayer 24-7-365. I am sure in Zambia most days it will be answered with a YES!! Still enjoying this Southern weather!
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The Budding Artist

Lots of travel time and even more time in the camper allows Savannah to work on her fine arts skills. She was given a sketch book from a church, and it has inspired her.
 I think she did very well considering there wasn't a fruit bowl around for her to copy!
This is her signature flower she has designed. A bit of a few varieties mashed into one. And the sun... she is seeing so much of it lately it could only make it into her drawings! 
I was in shock when I saw this one... until she cleared me up. Josiah drew this one! Fun to see what creativity she has... it has certainly been a wonderful way to spend some time!  
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Friday, March 30, 2012

Pensacola Beach

On our way to Louisiana, we traveled right through Pensacola, and decided to stop there for dinner. We wanted some inside info on the area, so we called our PCC friend Steph! She is a senior there so we figured she would know everything!

Well... she knew what we needed! We picked her up, and swooped her away for a gourmet dinner at Wendy's, and then went off to the beach!
 It was a beautiful night, and there weren't a lot of people there at this hour, which is a good thing! They went out into the Gulf past some tidal Islands. (My name for them! As the tide came in, there were sand bars that could be walked out on.) The water was warm enough to not be shocking!
 A fellow beach goer nicely took our picture. With Steph in the pic, it looks more like our family picture should! We by no means are saying she is replacing anyone (REALLY LIV!!!) ... but it is always a slightly incomplete picture with only 6 people.
 Savannah is trying her skill at crossing the great divide. Dan caught this mid stride... it looks pretty cool! She didn't make it over dry. But she made it over smiling!
It was a great little get away in the middle of a long day of traveling. Once we got back to the college to drop off Steph, we connected with a couple of other PCC students. Sadly we didn't get a picture of them all :( Next time!!
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Lake House

While that is one of my favorite movies, this has nothing to do with a mailbox and displaced meant-to-be couples.

We are in Astatula, Florida, right near Lake Harris and the pictures to follow are from a home on this lake. It was a God orchestrated meeting as Carol usually doesn't attend Astatula Baptist , only sometimes on Sunday night because her husband's church of choice does not have a Sunday pm service. Well she came the Sunday we were presenting our ministry, and we were delighted to meet her. 

The next day in Wal Mart... several miles away from the church, (Astatula has no where to shop. I mean no where! I paid $5.98 for a gallon of milk to avoid a 9 mile one way drive!) Micah recognizes her from church, and says hello. She eventually placed us as "the missionary family from the Baptist church", and we had several more meeting points in the store! 

When we left we discovered we parked right next to her, and she had checked out at the same time as well, and delivered two boxes of pop-tarts to us before driving away! So sweet! And she was pretty special too! :) (did anyone catch that?! I have been married to Dan quite a while...!) 
Anyhow, she called us the next morning and invited us to come to her home to swim in the community pool, and we were more than glad to take her up on the offer. It is hot here!!  When we arrived, she said her husband wants to take us out on his boat!! All right! We absentmindedly didn't bring our cameras, but know it was a nature ride of Central Florida to rival a paid charter!! We saw several types of birds, all of which Carol was an expert thanks to her fathers tutelage since she was a little girl. We saw dozens of alligators, ranging in size from recently hatched to well over 6 feet long! Also turtles and multiple species of insects! 

 We arrived back at their beautiful home and the kids had a great time picking grapefruits, oranges, lemons and key limes off of their trees!! The oranges were just past their prime, but they still provided plenty of entertainment as they batted them into the lake!
 Their garden is beautiful, and Jim takes wonderful care of it... although I am no judge to be sure. Florida foliage is so foreign to me! I knew this was a bird of paradise though! It was beautiful! 

This is the back of their house, and Siah is in the right window with Mrs. Carol- I am sure hearing much of the history of the area! She is quite the expert! 

The front door and entry 
 Jim is a skilled and talented stained glass artist! He started because Carol LOVED kaleidoscopes, and was breaking the bank to buy them all the time! Jim took a class and began to make her all the ones she wanted! I should have taken pictures of them because they were beautiful, and my mom would have appreciated them... she loves them too!
A window in their dining room
 He has made windows for neighbors, the community club house, and family and friends. They are so beautiful!
Embroidered Ostrich egg
Carol's mother was quite the talent as well, and embroidered this ostrich egg! It was incredible! Completely in tact, and dozens of stitches all over it. Amazing!
 She had a few framed shell pieces like this one. Her mother loved all the lacy and delicate shells, and arranged them in this frame. I so wish I had photographic skills! This does no justice to these things!
It was such an unexpected and lovely day! The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves, which is pretty cool because Jim and Carol are nearing their 80's!! I am so glad they (our kids AND Jim & Carol!) don't let age separate them from new friends!!
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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Being Led...

As we are finishing up a missions conference today, I was asked to teach the 5th and 6th grade Sunday School class. I was thrilled to do it, because hey... it is better than the pre school class!! Anyone who knows me knows I barely liked my own children before they were 6.... anyhow!
I got to the class wondering how many would be there with the time change and all. Spring Forward= lose 1 hour of sleep! I went to bed early just to make sure I would be alert. (also anyone who knows me knows that me + mornings = conflict!)

We met in the back corner of the old sanctuary... along with the duct work of the AC unit. It was scary cozy. I really gave any kid props that would come week after week there! No really, it was not bad at all. But we were wall to wall with only 6 people!

I wondered what pearls of wisdom I could expound to these young leaders of tomorrow, and I began to try to remember what and where I was at that age. About 10, 11 years old. Gangly. Unsure. Stringy hair. OK, this is 35 years (!!!) later- surely the kids are different now.


Anyhow, back to today... I had a nice lesson planned in my head. Talk about Zambia, show some Zambian stuff- money, grass bowl, carved pen, and then teach a little bit out of the Bible. I picked a small topic. How to know the Will of God for your life. You know, light kid stuff.

As I finished the Africa segment, I was led to Psalms 62... how our expectation is from God, and not people. That was a life changer for me when I really grasped that, and if these kids can get it now... they're way ahead of the game, let me tell you!

Then I went into 4 ways to know how to make a decision and know it is the will of God. This is NOT an original thought for me. Totally pirated from a message preached by one of my faves, Dr. David Gibbs Jr.

After I divulged all the wisdom I could, 9about 3 minutes...!) the Lord led me straight down the path to talk about when one is unwillingly subjected to another's will, and it clearly violates the Lord's will, as in an abusing situation.

Been there before, but how much to tell? Certainly not too much in mixed company, but why did the Lord lead me to open this up in the first place!!?! Believe me when I tell you though this is something I have shared before, it is usually one on one, and certainly not with a room of strangers. Well, I didn't go into any personal details, but suffice it to say there was a young girl who clearly was able to fill in with personal experience. She squirmed, intermittently covered her eyes, and was clearly having a moment right there in the middle of the cozy classroom with the duct work and dust balls.
Wow. We all know or have heard statistics that break our heart and blow our mind, but do I realize every day I meet people who are struggling with abuse on the levels of criminal?

It is something that I know the Lord can bring a person through, and on the other side one can be whole. Really WHoLe... and not faking it or coping.

But in the midst of it... whew.

Pray for "K" with me. She is a fellow bus kid... just like I was. Maybe that is why I am so burdened. I don't know, but today I can't get her off my head and heart.

I really enjoyed teaching, and I pray the Lord was glorified. Today I handed our some spiritual tools, and I hope they will be used by those kids. Especially "K".
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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Instagram 03-03-2012

Savannah age 9... 

Perfect end to the "end of the decade" Birthday

In warm DeLand, FL finishing up the day's celebration with a college baseball game! Go Stetson Hatters! 

A special name plaque :)

The birthday girl picked out a special gift at the local flea market here in Daytona. This will fit perfectly in her bunk in the camper. That is a tall order as not many things will!! Happy Birthday Baby Girl!! 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

For once we were the "relief"...

It is quite common for us to need rescue on the roadways. (That is surely an understatement!!!) 
We just left a wonderful conference at Lighthouse Baptist in Port Charlotte where we were able to share some time with the Andersons. We left today to drop our trailer in Tampa,  and then continue our journey over to the East coast via rt. 4, and the Andersons happened to be slightly ahead of us....Broken down on the shoulder of the highway with a transmission problem. While we weren't any help in getting the van fixed, we were able to give them a mobile lunch! Thankfully they have vehicle relief on the way!! 
Keep them in prayer as their van will obviously be in the shop! 
"I'm so glad I am a part of the family of God"!