Beautiful Life





Hey child up and go; A big world is out there waiting for us to live in every day. Outside you will find, there is love all around you; Takes you, makes you wanna' say; That it's a beautiful life and it's a beautiful world and it's a beautiful time to be here, to be here, to be here. -Fisher

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Snapshot


Sunday Snapshot




AKA, Sisters on a Mouse Hunt



I think every {cute} town or {touristy} city should do this.  The city of Greenville {which is a totally cute city by the way} has a Mice on Main scavenger hunt.  I have two sisters and we decided to do a sisters get-away weekend in Greenville because I knew we could get a room downtown and never have to get back in our car all a weekend.  We were within walking distance of anything we wanted.....so many restaurants, cute shops, a Greek Festival, a beautiful park and {if we had had the money} spa treatments!  Anyway, we soon discovered the Mice on Main and the scavenger hunt that went with it.  Mice on Main is based on the children's book Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown where there is a cute little mouse {not really} hidden on each page.  In Greenville there are 9 cute little bronze mice hidden on Main Street. 

We grabbed our clues at the General Store {Okay, not really because my sister Amy is a super planner and already had them downloaded to her iPad......which we carried up and down Main Street all day Saturday}


And, we found all 9 mouse plus and an extra one to boot!  Some are sadly missing their tails, but all were cute and it was a nice way to walk down Main Street being silly with my sisters!













This is the extra little fella, not part of the scavenger hunt.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Confirmation

For my parents, who could not be with us, I am posting Parker and Noah's Confirmation video clips.  And, some really cute pictures!

video


video







Thursday, May 19, 2011

Testimonies

Six months ago, Paul and I made the decision to "make" Parker and Noah take the confirmation class at our church.  We had originally thought it was an unnecessary step for them.  After all, we know where they stand, as we have taken a major part in raising them in God's Word rather than leaving that up to others.  And, based on my experience with the church I grew up in, I didn't think it was that big of a deal.  I remember nothing of importance from my experience with that class. 

But.....

Well, we had heard really good things about the confirmation class at our home church now.  And, it is tradition.  I like tradition. 

But.....

Was it really all that important?  They didn't want to do it.  It would be a pain too.  We live 30-45 minutes from our church depending on traffic.  Confirmation class was 3 hours after church.  It would mean staying in the area after church to drop them off for the class, then driving home and then coming back for them 3 hours later.  What. A. Pain. 

But.....

In the end, we decided it would be good for them.  And, it was just for a few months, so we figured we would all survive it. 

They went kicking and screaming to the first class, and came out alive and surprisingly......happy.  One class had changed their whole perspective on confirmation.....or taking the class anyway.

Which only made me wonder if it was any good at all.  I mean, they were supposed to be learning something about the church, right?  How much fun could that be?  It wasn't fun when I did it.  I don't think.  Then again, I don't remember.  Which is sad, I guess. 

But, I quickly remembered that they also loved the three years of Biblical Worldview classes I'd put them in and I know they walked away from those classes with good stuff.  So, maybe it wasn't a waste.  Maybe they would get something out of this. 

Week after week, we arranged our Sundays around their class and they did their part.  Homework.  Bible reading and some questions.  They went to class and I assume, they participated in the table discussions that were supposedly going on.  They went on the weekend retreat too.  This was a first for us.  Our boys had never been on a church retreat...... or, for that matter, away from us for that long without it being with family. 

They were fine.  Mom Dad had to be distracted all weekend!  It was tough and I don't mind saying that I'm not looking forward to them leaving one day.  But, they came back acting as if they had been on the best trip ever.  It had music and worship and play and worship and food and worship.  What more could they ask for, right?

Anyway, as the big day approached, the boys began to whine about having to write and then read {in front of the church!} their testimonies.  They knew this was part of the class.  And they knew that they could not be confirmed unless they did it.  Frankly, I'm not sure they cared.  They began to act like it was fine with them if they weren't confirmed this year.  Or ever!  Just don't make them talk in front of everyone. 

Since I have the same phobias about talking in front of a group of people {or one stranger for that matter}, I understood what was happening.  But really, what was the point of going to class all those weeks?  Having to do this was a main reason we signed them up to begin with. 

Why?

Well because neither Paul nor I were raised in churches that made giving your testimony a priority.  And therefore, we have trouble with it to this day.  As a  matter of fact, we don't do it often enough.  While I may teach my children all about God and the Bible and go to great lengths to insure they have a Biblical Worldview to apply to every situation, haven't I failed if they don't understand that our purpose is it to tell people what God has done in our lives so we can share our faith and pass hope to others? 

So we made them do it.  Sometimes parenting means tough love.

They spent one week writing their testimonies.  And, I have to say, it was not easy.  Why?  Well, we quickly realized that 14 year olds don't really have all that much to say about what God has done in their lives.  At least, my 14 year olds don't.  They do get that that is what their testimonies are supposed to be about.  But, since they have grown up in a happy home, with Christian parents, and they haven't lived through any real struggles {that they know of} or had any health problems....they don't have those kind of testimonies yet.  

But, they have heard those kinds so testimonies and so they kept thinking they were supposed to come up with something like that.  I finally realized that that was the problem.  They thought they needed a story of miracles and adversity to have a testimony.  And, those testimonies are great.  But, we don't all have one of those!  Especially when we are young. I know that if I had had to write a testimony at 14, it would not have been filled with Glory stories.  I went to church because my parents brought me and always had.  I prayed because others in my life modeled that and I read the Bible because my Sunday school teachers said I should. And......ummm, yeah.  That's would have been it.  I have no idea what else I could have said at 14.  Other than the fact that I knew It felt right to have God in my life and that I was at peace when I could pray about things.  But, that's it.  Nothing spectacular. 

And the boys were having the same problem coming up with something to say about what God had done in their lives.  I didn't want to put words in their mouths either so I had to try to ask questions {that weren't too loaded} and get them thinking about things.  One of them finally said that Dave {the leader} had said that he would be thrilled if the only thing his daughter had to say on Testimony night was "I am a Christian and I've always been one!" 

So we started there. 

Somehow, they managed to come up with testimonies that a mom and dad can be proud of!  Words from their heart that DO show how God has worked in their young lives.  They were short, but sweet.  No, they weren't stories that will knock your socks off.  We did here several that night from other children that have had things like drug addiction and family abandonment to overcome.  But, our boys had simple stories of how God has always been a part of their lives.....and maybe that is one of the reasons they don't have edge-of-your-seat conversion stories.  

 And, I have to hand it to them.....they didn't choke under pressure.  They aren't comfortable up there in the spot light, but they survived!   They more than survived.  They showed that their lives are a testimony to God's grace and love.  And that they are a work in progress.....just like the rest of us!


video

Hello, my name is Parker Gour. My testimony is a testimony of thanksgiving.



I have grown up in a Christian home and I’m thankful that my parents chose, even before I was born, to raise me this way. When I was five, my parents decided to homeschool me.


I am very thankful that part of my education has included a morning devotional, memory verses, creation education and an amazing Biblical Worldview class outside our home where I connected with many other teen believers.


All these things have worked to strengthen my faith in Christ and my understanding of His word. I am also thankful that my parents found their way to St. Andrews, where I have been influenced by many amazing people. Too many to list!


I am thankful that I have been able to be a part of not one, but two great youth groups. One here and one at another church.


Basically, I have spent 14 years learning about God and His word through my parents and all the Christians they have made sure to surround me with, so as far as my testimony goes, I guess you could say that I’ve always been a Christian.


But that is not the end of my testimony. In confirmation class, I learned from our study of Luke that Jesus always wants to have a good relationship with his followers. I am thankful that He knows me perfectly, but my testimony is that I want to know Him no matter how hard it gets. I need to remember that it cannot be as rough as being nailed to a cross for something someone else did.


Sadly, standing up here tonight is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do for my faith. As I studied and worked to get to testimony night, I have come to realize why it’s not enough to say I believe or even to live a well behaved life. I have to live a life for Christ.



video

Hello, my name is Noah Gour.



I don’t have a conversion testimony. I don’t have a “Road to Damascus” testimony. My life doesn’t look like a “darkness into the light” testimony.


But, we all live in darkness until we accept that we are sinners, and that we need to see God as El Elyon [God most High], and believe that He sent His only son down to die on the cross for us.


I am a sinner but I have been saved by God’s Grace and realize that he gave His son to die on the cross for my sake and that He is now my Adonai [Lord and Master].


In the past few years of my life, I have come to know God more and have spent an entire year learning his names.


I have learned that when I am about to do something wrong, I can always know that He, El Roi, [the God who Sees], is watching what I’m doing. And when I’m going through tough times, I know that he is always with me and guiding me as [Jehovah-sabaoth], the Lord of Hosts.


I also know that if I am ever in need of something and it is in His desire for me to have it, Jehovah-jireh will provide it for me.


I have accepted God as my God and know that Jesus is His son and that he died and rose again, and I have been sanctified in Christ by Jehovah-mekoddishkem [the Lord who sanctifies you].


I am Noah Gour and though it isn’t much, that is my testimony.


What did I learn from this?

I learned a valuable lesson.  I learned that we should share our God stories more so that our children are able to see and remember how God works in our lives all the time.  So they will recognize it more easily in their own lives.  I think Linny at A Place Called Simplicity has it right with her Memorial Box Monday posts.  You should check it out.  And I think I might start doing my own MBM posts.  Or at least doing something like that with my kids.  Because we?  Yep, have loads of stories to share about how God has worked in our lives! 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Talent

Guitar playing
Loud singing
Asian boy!


video

With accordion accompaniment!

Me thinks that living in the South may have a strange effect on them.

Can I just say that my life has gotten infinitely noisier since they discovered these talents!




What a Weekend!

*Blogger had some kind of techinical difficulty the other day and took all posts down going back to a certian date in order to fix said issue.  For whatever reason, it also took this post back to a date before it had been finished and therefore deleted part of it.  I have re-posted it here, but because I don't know EXACTLY how it was, it is not exactly the same.  Oh well!*




I don't know about you, but I had an amazing weekend! 



I got married!




Well......I did. 




Okay, so it was 17 years ago!

But, it was 17 years ago, Saturday, May 7th that we stood before our family and friends, and our God and pledged to love each other for life.  Through thick and thin, for better or worse, richer or poorer.  It was all in our wedding vows and we have kept them!



17 years ago I married my very best friend. 



And we drove off into the sunset to begin our new life together!




That drive, lead us to this.  Our older, much more mature selves.  But, we are still learning and loving! Seventeen of the best years of my life and I have no doubt that there will be seventeen more and hopefully seventeen more and  maybe seventeen more.....!  And I know that none of you is gullible enough to think that it's been all Easy Street.  But, isn't that was makes it all the sweeter?  I think so. 

And if that wasn't awesome enough, Sunday was Mother's Day!  For me, these two go hand-in-hand anyway.  Mother's Day began for me on the same day I married Paul.  That is the day we became a family of three! 



Granted, I was the step-mother and the dynamics of that are completely different when the mother is still very much a part of the child's life as well.  But, Paul and Lizzie were a package deal and I loved and committed myself to both that day.  And, never looked back!

We did it up right too!  It started with being served breakfast in bed by 5 of my blessings and my wonderful husband.  Then church.  After church comes my favorite part.  Our annual picnic at the beach!  Followed by playing on the beach and we finished up the day with a dinner grilled by Paul for us and his parents and served on the deck he built for me three years ago!  Wonderful is all I can say.











 






Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Crash



I told you before that Paul dubbed this child "Crash" while we were in China.  Claire's physical therapist says that it's because his head is.....well....ummm.....large.  But, that he will grow into it!  He manages to bang it at least one good time each day.  Really.


In the mean time, we will call him Lumpy. we think he's a cute as he can be even if he does look like he went a few rounds with Rocky Balboa!  And, I keep a bag of frozen peas on hand.  At all times.



Because, by the time I posted this, Crash had already added a third lump to the middle of his forehead!

What is a mother to do?