10
Apr 15

Have Courage, My Son!

Note: As you read this, feel free to set the mood by turning on the same soundtrack that I’m enjoying as I write it: “Aurora” by my good friend, Clayton Reedstrom.

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JoshuaThe wise leader of a fledgling nation knew his remaining days on earth were numbered. The people he loved were about to embark on the mission for which they had sacrificed much and waited many years. The realization of their hopes and dreams spread out before them — a country promised them by God! But it would not be theirs without a struggle. Much was uncertain about this impending invasion and what little they did know left a sense of ominous danger. Worse, their trusted leader would not be going with them. Instead, he must place this vital responsibility on the shoulders of his chosen successor, a man named Joshua.

“Be strong and of good courage” were the words that echoed across the valley to the gathered multitude. Then, singling out Joshua, the leader repeated this same command directly to him, “Be strong and of good courage.” Soon afterwards, gazing deeply into his eyes, the old patriarch repeated this injunction a third time as his final charge to Joshua: “Be strong and of good courage”! (See Deuteronomy 31.)

But there were giants in the land! The legendary enemies they were about to face were as well known for their cruelty as they were for their physical strength. Ahead of them rose an immense blockade of insurmountable obstacles. How could one have courage in the face of such fear? “The Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage comes from a focus on something greater than our fears. Over and over again Joshua was reminded that His deliverer was right there with him. This was cause for courage! And by his valiant exploits, Joshua’s name has gone down in history as a hallmark of courage.

Joshua: God is my salvation, my help, my deliverer.

Chamberlain's Charge by Mort Kunstler (https://mortkunstler.com/html/art-limited-edition-prints.asp?action=view&ID=390)Several thousand years later, another soldier named Joshua stood on a hillside in the midst of a great struggle. Five times the enemy had charged up the slopes of Little Round Top and each time his men of the 20th Maine had successfully repelled their attack. At one point he had been knocked off his feet as a bullet hit him dead center. But it providentially glanced off his belt buckle so that he could jump back on his feet and resume the fight. Now his troops were almost completely out of ammunition. Only eighty men were left standing behind the rock wall where just that morning had been three hundred. Desperately he had sent for help, but no help was coming.

The opposing army was reinforced, however, and were now getting in position for one final overwhelming charge. Joshua stepped up on top of the wall with his hands crossed, gazing down at the advancing foe. Outnumbering his regiment 5 to 1 and yelling at the top of their lungs, the enemy came sweeping up the hill once again. Huddled behind the wall, his weary men looked up at him for direction. What should he do?

He couldn’t retreat. This was the high ground. If he lost this position, the flank of the entire Union army would be exposed to an outright downhill rebel attack with no protection. Utter defeat would be swift and certain. This was Gettysburg, July 2, 1863, and the outcome of the entire American Civil War was likely hanging on the shoulders of this one schoolteacher from Maine and his beleaguered regiment. “I knew I may die,” he wrote, “but I also knew that I would not die with a bullet in my back. I would not die in retreat. I am, at least, like the apostle Paul who wrote, ‘This one thing I do, I press toward the mark.'”

“Fix bayonets!” he yelled to his astonished men. “Do it now!”  Then raising his sword and pointing it toward the oncoming foe, he called out, “Charge! Charge! Charge!” With those words, Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain also went down in history as a hallmark of courage. For at the site of Chamberlain’s counter-charge, the confused enemy reeled back, threw down their weapons, and fled. The victory was his!

Lawrence: Victorious, crowned with a laurel

IMG_20150408_210919571Three days ago, on 4/7 at 7:47 p.m., Joshua Lawrence Staddon arrived in the world, weighing 7 lbs. 4 oz. The arrival of my firstborn son brought great joy to my heart! Despite complications after delivery, his mother pulled through with courage and is now recovering well.

Have courage, my son! There is much evil in this world. There are many giants that you will face. But have courage! God is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Joshua Lawrence: Through God I have the victory!


07
Apr 15

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

We enjoyed a beautiful Sunday with family and friends, hearing triumphant music in church from Robert and Daniel followed by an inspiring message, soaking up the warm sun, watching little girls running happy around the yard in their new dresses (and Sauntina was VERY ecstatic to not wear socks or a jacket!), and hearing Robert tell the children about the first Easter using colored eggs they had found containing different pieces of the story (i.e., a donkey, whip, rock, cloth, and empty egg).

Friends joined us for supper – our first meal to eat outside! Praise the Lord for beautiful weather and a glorious day of fellowship to celebrate what He did for us! Perhaps having 16 adults and 7 children to feed was adequate to help Baby Boo decide he/she wants to come soon? :)

Because He lives, we can face tomorrow!

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08
Mar 15

36 weeks! Almost there!

Time has flown by and now that the end is four weeks away (give or take a couple weeks…preferable take a couple weeks, hint hint, baby), it seems to have slowed down. Have I ever mentioned how much I love a simple lifestyle? :) My days have certainly become less complicated as I plug away on the remaining jobs that need done before baby, plus spend time with my girls.

Sauntina is such a joy with her non-stop chatter of everything and giving me glimpses into the mind of a toddler, and Marilee loves to walk, read books, play with her teapot, and follow Sauntina in nearly everything she does. If Sauntina is running around the coffee table singing to her hearts content, Marilee is usually right behind her trying to run with her toddling steps! And little junior must hear the excitement because he/she adds to the fun with a stream of kicks and rolls (ouch? Sorry, little one, there’s not a lot of room in there anymore and mommy’s ribs only give so much..).

I love my growing family. ❤

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24
Feb 15

Baby bump & Story time!

Marilee brought over one of her favorite books this morning – the Children’s Illustrated Hymnbook from In The Gap – and settled in for awhile. She had everything she needed – snuggling with mommy, music as mommy sang the songs , pictures to look at, a fire in the fireplace… And her own personal arm rest thanks to baby!

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16
Feb 15

A glimpse of February…

With freezing temperatures, many inches of snow, and being 33 weeks pregnant, I’m afraid we haven’t gotten out much lately! But thankfully my girls enjoy the home and are kept busy with great books to read, crafts to do, and toys to play with…scattered with much-needed nap(s) in amongst them as well (both for children AND mommy!). We are so grateful for warmth, food, and things to keep us busy!

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Sauntina reading in front of the fire…

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Marilee reading one of her favorite books illustrated by hey very own Uncle Donald!

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Wonderful Catan games with Esther and a friend!

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And helping and playing with Daddy! We are blessed!


07
Dec 14

Christmas time is here!

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It’s time to play Christmas songs, enjoy the lights, and sing about Jesus and why He came to earth!


16
Oct 14

Three Little Pumpkins…

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Giving thanks with grateful hearts! Our third little pumpkin is scheduled to arrive April 4th, 2015!


09
Oct 14

Happy 1st Birthday, Marilee!

It’s so hard to believe that my baby is one all ready! This year seems to have flown by and from looking at the pictures, it was well spent with many loving memories, giggles and laughs, lessons learned, and blessings abounding.

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Marilee has given us so much joy this year with her smiles, little wrinkled nose when she’s especially happy, and active desire to DO things and go, go, GO! She is now busy crawling everywhere she possibly can and pulling herself up on anything that will hold her. She’s slowly starting to make her way around the coffee table so I think walking is in the near future.

Here’s a few pictures from her first ladybug birthday party that Aunt Esther helped put on!

My little ladybugs with Uncle Daniel!

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The BEAUTIFUL cake Aunt Esther made!

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Due to just getting over an ear infection, Marilee wasn’t the happiest of birthday girls, but a cell phone (and one for everyone – thanks parents) did go a long way to make a happy picture!

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We played “Pin the dot on the Ladybug!” Sauntina wasn’t too keen on doing it herself so she guided her blindfolded uncle on where to put it. Marilee needed a little help reaching…and leaving it there (it somehow made it into her mouth!).

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The lovely group of kiddos that helped celebrate! We had soup and sandwiches for everyone – there’s always a wonderful reason to get families together for fellowship!

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Marilee cried at the sight of her two ladybugs cupcakes and wouldn’t touch them, but after being fed a couple bites, she became an old pro in no time (a rather tidy eater, I must say).

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We had many hands to help with her gifts!

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Thank you, Esther and Daniel (and Emily!), for helping make this party happen and for all the work you did behind the scenes! I appreciate you very much!

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Happy Birthday, Marilee! We love you so much!

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21
Aug 14

Camping with the Camp Family!

I have never been camping before…I haven’t even slept in a tent in the backyard! But that was about to change when the Camp family invited us to join them and their three children for a weekend of camping in the White Pines State Park!

Those three days out in nature were wonderful and although I didn’t sleep that well the first night due to hearing a leaf falling on the tent, a raccoon waddling by, my girls stirring in their beds, and campers talking late into the night, the second night way better and I slept deeply! Marilee had just learned how to crawl so she kept venturing off her blanket to taste new rocks, leaves, and sticks – it was a constant job to keep up with her! And dear Sauntina…my sweet Sauntina was dirty from head to toe after playing in dirt, rocks, leaves, water, and even cooled off ashes. But oh! Was she ever happy! I think she really enjoyed the camping trip with little people around her age to enjoy and endless hours to play outside!

It was a great first experience and I hope it won’t be the last!

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06
Jul 14

Happy Birthday, Robert!

Robert’s birthday always falls on a fun week – the 4th of July celebrations! For the 4th, Daniel, Robert, Sauntina, Marilee and I went to Cantigny Park to enjoy the beautiful, family-friendly grounds and listen to the grand Navy band play patriotic songs. Sauntina loved climbing all over the display tanks with Daniel!

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And today, just a couple days later, we celebrate the birthday of a wonderful man of God, the fearless leader in our family, our spiritual guide, and creative inventor of many exciting adventures! May your new year be blessed, Robert! Thank you for your leadership, love, and direction in our lives…your girls love you VERY much!

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