16
Jul 15

Chick-fil-A!

On Tuesday, we joined others for the Chick-fil-A appreciation day! The girls loved dressing up like little cows and we enjoyed the outing with the Wallers!

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17
Jun 15

Until I see you again…

Late Sunday night, one of the Christian’s worlds best authors and heroines completed her legacy on earth and went to be with the Savior she poured out her life for. Not only was she eloquent with her words, lived what she taught, structured her life around the Lord’s will for her life, served in several countries as a missionary, lost her husband to the very people they came to reach out to, and went back to that same tribe to show them Christ’s love…she was also my spiritual heroine. Elisabeth Elliot changed my life as I entered my teen years and gave me a much bigger picture to focus on as new challenges faced me.

“Passion & Purity,” “Though Gates of Splendor,” and “Shadow of the Almighty” were some of my favorite books of hers to read. In 2009, I was given the opportunity to serve with her and her husband ~ talk about a dream come true! Due to some health complications of Elisabeth’s, I stayed with them for quite a few months and served where needed. Those months  were full of learning curves as I helped wherever I could (which I loved), took up running (which I didn’t love – and it ended up being more of a quick walk:), learned how to cook fish the right way from a fantastic cook (Total love! Lars, Elisabeth’s husband, knew his fish dishes), saw three different seasons in those beautiful New England states, played and sang Elisabeth’s favorite hymns with her, and saw how a real woman of God lives (and it wasn’t as profound as I thought it would have been – she lived simply and passionately).

Elisabeth was a woman who loved Jesus and let Him affect every part of her life. She was a woman of discipline. She never minced words and stated the facts wrapped in tones of love. She changed my life through a talk she gave when I was in my teens…little realizing that one of the girls in the audience would be able to give back to her 10+ years later.

It was Elisabeth that inspired the gorgeous engagement ring Robert gave me. Robert gave me the heart shaped diamond ring because he wanted it to be a continual reminder that I was loved with an everlasting love…and this was one of Elisabeth’s favorite verses as well. I’m going to miss her, miss holding her hand, seeing her smile and hearing her voice, but her words and legacy will live on forever.

Thank you, Elisabeth, for living a life that pointed to Jesus and I’m so glad my girls were able to meet you. I’ll see you again soon.

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09
May 15

A Poem of Courage

Joshua Lawrence is almost five weeks now! His photographer Uncle James shot some beautiful pictures while he was visiting the other day:

A good friend of ours, Elizabeth Linzey, wrote a beautiful poem based on Joshua’s birth announcement post, Have Courage, My Son! We thought we would share it here for you to enjoy as well:

The wise, old leader looked about
The young and fledgling nation,
The people he had led would soon
Embark on a great mission.

This leader knew his days on earth
Were numbered, quickly fleeting,
He knew the battles they would face—
Temptations of retreating.

The realization of their hopes
And dreams spread out before them,
But such would not be theirs without
A struggle and invasion.

Much was uncertain in the thought
Of conquering their strangers,
And in what little they did know
Left sense of ominous danger.

This trusted leader knew that he
Would not be going with them,
Instead, the baton he must pass
To one whom God had chosen.

His young successor, Joshua,
Was next to take the lead.
With courage and a father’s care,
He charged him valiantly:

“Be strong and of good courage—“
The words echoed in his ear,
“The Lord thy God will go with you;
Be not dismayed, nor fear.”

Many battles fought and won
By Joshua’s army,
Were by their courage in the Lord—
They fought so valiantly.

Courage is not the absence of
All sorts of dread and fear;
Courage comes from a focus on
What’s greater than your fear.

Another solder, Joshua,
Once stood upon a hill,
Amidst a heated battle—
The foe he could not still.

To him the charge was given,
“Whatever you may do,
‘Give you life before the hill,’
“Don’t let them get through you.”

Five times the foe charged up the hill
Attempting their attack,
But every time, his fighting troops
Sent them repelling back.

Now his troops were almost out
Of all their ammunition,
And of three hundred, eighty men
Were left to keep the mission.

They huddled low behind the rocks,
Desiring reinforcement,
But no help came, despite his plea
To aid his regiment.

Just when they felt their very weakest,
The foe was lining up
With even more than all before…
But Joshua stood up.

His weary men looked up at him,
Waiting for instruction,
His thoughts raced with pounding heart
As he pondered his direction.

He couldn’t retreat {“…Give your life first…”}
This was the higher ground,
{“What’er you do, don’t lose the hill.”}
He heard the battle sound.

Perhaps, the whole entire war
Depended on his call;
If he should lose, the ones behind
Most certainly would fall.

The enemy ran up the hill
For one final attack,
“I might die now.” He thought, “But not
With a bullet in my back.”

“Fix bayonets! And do it now!”
He urged with courageous surge,
With his sword drawn he led his men,
“Charge! Charge! CHARGE!”

The enemy, confused, reeled back,
Threw down their weapons, fled.
This one man’s courage, with his men,
Great victory had led.

Is there a challenge in your life,
A mountain you must keep?
Are there “giants in the land”
That make you feel so weak?

Has the enemy advanced, though
You’re low on ammunition?
Do you feel you’re losing ground
In a dreadful situation?

Though uncertain you may be
Of coming future days,
And fear the hard decisions
That you may have to face.

Be strong and of good courage,
Fear not, nor be afraid;
The Lord thy God is with you,
The vict’ry He has made.

By Elisabeth Linzey


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.

~

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!