Monday, June 30, 2008

Deeper Still

This weekend, my sweet and precious friend Emmy, offered me a free ticket to go to Deeper Still. Wow. I have been overwhelmed with listing the details of this weekend, and have not posted simply because I cannot put into words what I heard and saw.

Basically this conference consists of three, dynamic, incredible speakers that came to be used by God to speak a fresh word into their Sisters in Christ. Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, and Priscilla Shirer were a group of speakers that can compare to none other I have heard before. Not to mention, when these 3 ladies get together, they are absolutely hysterical. They seem like 3 old friends that invite you into their camaraderie as if you are their old friend too. ( while 19,000 some odd women are listening in to their discussion.

The worship led by Travis Cottrell and his team was absolutely hand raising. Now I must tell you I was raised Baptist and I am now a proud Presbyterian, but when he and his praise team start singing, I am convinced I am nothing but God's child praising my Lord. I love, love, love it. They have a way of ushering such a large group into the throne of grace. Their song choices and voices have a special way of uniting that many people into a body of ONE!! I learned that he and his group would be in our area on Sunday night, so J and I loaded the family up to go see him.
Travis and his group are phenomenal. ( I hope you will take a few minutes and watch the quick video SS, M's friend put together on You Tube, thanks S.) I wanted my family to witness just a taste of what I experienced this weekend. They seemed to enjoy it, and the little girl's favorite was when they finally sang "Shackles" at the end. Woop-woop!!

Now once the laughter and singing was done at Deeper Still, these 3 women brought God's word like none other. All 3 of these women were so humble in their deliverance. I am amazed at their deliberate attempt to approach their positions with such grace and humility. Priscilla shared on Friday night on Exodus, and Moses and of course the Hebrews in the Wilderness. Her analogies are too incredible to explain, but basically the message was "Why would we want anyone to go get God for us and bring Him to us when we can have Him for ourselves." Remember in Exodus when the Hebrews told Moses to go to the mountain for them, well why to we rely on pastors, teachers, spouses, bible study leaders, and friends to give us our mountaintop experiences when He is right there for US to take? She also explained that it is in our wilderness experiences that we SEE God so much brighter than any other times in our lives.

On Saturday morning, Kay Arthur, taught on I believe Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Isaiah in just an hour and a half. She KNOWS her Bible like none other and I want that!! Her main message was that WE need to know God's word, as WE are God's people. I want that desire to be immersed in HIS Word daily for myself!! The day ended with more praise and worship, then my favorite, of course, Beth Moore. She spoke on John 1:14 "The word became flesh, and made his dwelling among us, we have seen his glory, the glory of the ONE and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." She basically taught the verse word by word and made it real. Just as Christ became REAL flesh among us and is still alive today. Whew.

I left with a headache, my poor little brain just couldn't wrap around all the information. I have been processing it all ever since I left. I am praising God that he ordained that free ticket. I know I was supposed to be at that conference, He spoke to me in so many ways, but my most powerful lesson was that HE wants more of me. ALL of me. And I want more of HIM, He is the ONE and ONLY!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Letters from Camp

Today as we became re-acquainted with a thing called "snail mail", I found precious treasures, postcards from each child away at camp. The kids mostly listed their favorite friends and skills and activities they have been doing. It sounds like they are all having fun and of course sent their love. This was my favorite from K:

Hey Mom and Dad:
I have met about 30 knew friends!
love, K

(that was it) too cute. I can't wait to hear about all of their adventures, especially my 6 girls that will CAMP OUT, OUTSIDE!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

We're Home-My favorite photos from the Beach

Little J, learning to blow a bubble!

These two rarely even love on each other, so this picture is a true keeper!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Last post from the beach-We're headed home!

I must say that the beach has been absolutely fabulous. There is something refreshing to the soul to spend a week at the seashore. This must be why Jesus took up with fishermen and frequently preached and taught from the shore. I absolutely love it. Our time away has been great to just BE. What a break from the chaos of raising 11 children. I feel refreshed and re-energized to be a better mommy once we return to the Real World.

The remainder of week has been fun filled and relaxing. We have spent lots of hours looking for shells, swimming, reading books, and EATING. Our family's favorite spot at Gulf Shore is of course Dippin' Dots, the stuff is addictive. We have visited the shop twice as well as hair wraps at Alvin's Island, a yummy dinner at Louisiana Lagniappe, and some fun shopping. Tonight Nana is frying up some fresh red snapper that Jen, Nana and Papa caught on Wednesday during their Deep Sea fishing adventure. They did quite well for a day's work and we will enjoy it tonight.

Today is Papa's birthday and mine is tomorrow so tonight we are having a birthday celebration, what a way to go out as we leave in the morning. I will post pictures when we get back.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Beachin it!

Life this week has been pretty easy. Our "non-schedule" has been yummy fried eggs each morning (I never have time to make enough for all 13 of us at home, I can manage just a few), we hit the beach or pool, then back and forth until lunch, in for lunch, then back again, then back and forth, (my kids can't stay put for very long), then in for dinner. We have eaten out once at our kids' traditional favorite, Calypso Joe's.

They even have a hermit crab race each hour, and the children must pick a number from a basket, there weren't enough for all the children, so my 3 had to share number 5. Thank goodness the crab raced as fast as he could toward their number. They each got a prize. I didn't know what would happen if we lost, but it would have been okay. Calypso Joe's has a Jamaican flare, which we love!!

We have also eaten in, J went and got take out from another local dive, Bahama Bob's. Yummy crab claws and fried shrimp, which are all delightful diet foods (just kidding)! Last night we went to The Wharf and enjoyed the giant Ferris wheel, of course Daddy and Papa had to just watch while the women took the children up!!

We then went to see Kung Fu Panda in a stadium theatre, little J's first time! He asked 5,000 questions. Too cute. He dined on sour gummy worms and loved the movie. My girls are so used to sharing when we go to the movies that they totally dug getting their own candy, it's the simple things in life.. junior mints and a good movie. By the way, I don't get into Kung Fu or fighting movies, but this one made me laugh.

Later in the week we will celebrate Papa's and my birthday, we have already celebrated Aunt Jen's and Father's Day, what a celebratory week this has been. Tonight we are grilling steaks after a day on the beach, Life is good!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Life is Good!!/God will fight my battles!

We are having a great time at the beach. I wanted to tell all of you about a great verse I found today. Exodus 14:14, basically says, in the NIV, "The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still." My read of Exodus was prompted by J's new fascination with the movie Prince of Egypt. (He loves that Moses' "cane" can do God's wonders!!) Anyway, as we were watching the movie the other night, J asked how accurate is this? you know, biblical? I had to answer, well. . . I just don't remember the whole story. Of course, I know Moses in the basket, raised by Pharoah's daughter, murdered an Egyptian slave master, ran away, got married, and then in Midian the Lord told him to go back and free his people, etc. But as I was reading on this morning, I found that verse and it stuck out like sore thumb in highlighters to me!! Wow, how many times have I tried to fix, solve, and correct battles and problems in my life. Do I ever truly realize that God can fight for me and can handle battles without me!! The Lord is fighting for me always, and I just need to be still. Wow!! I hope that will resonate with you today wherever you may be or whatever battle you may be fighting, just be still and let the Lord fight for you.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

We're at the beach!!

I am posting today on the front porch of our beach house looking out at the Gulf of Mexico. What a glorious Sunday morning to experience God's beauty and creation. Life is Good and doesn't get much better than this.

We broke our trip up on the way here and stayed Birmingham at Ross-Bridge Mariott Resort. The kids absolutely loved the waterslide and pool.

The five of us shared a room and at bedtime after a sweet, "good night, sleep tight" from each child and each of us, I thought, "thank you God for this precious moment, I want to treasure this moment forever." I don't think we have ever done that with just our three biological children. How sweet it was. I think their favorite part was having room service bring them their breakfast. I must admit I love that part of staying in a nice hotel as well.

All of our other children are headed to camp today for a 12 day camp experience. They all love it and make fun, new friends. This is our first time to have someone take the kids for us and we will pick them up and get to see their closing program.

Unfortunately, J's laptop won't load my pictures, so I will add them once we get home.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Feel my Stress Level!

Friends in Blogger Land:

So Many of you have asked: How do you do it? How does it work? How can you get it all done?

Many times I have replied with: I don't know! I guess it's the Lord! We don't get it ALL done, there are many things left undone everyday!

Well, the time for our personal time off has come, the kids are going to camp, and I have a couple house sitting and staying with our college-aged daughter.

So. . I can't leave my house in a mess, I must pack my biological family of 5 for an 8 days treck down to the beach, PLUS 7 kids are heading to camp for 12 days.

So. . . my to do list is crazy, just to send one child to camp includes a huge, two column supply list including 8-10 outfits. So, of course I send 10, that is 70 outfits. Last night at Wal-Mart I spent $700 on toiletries, extra play clothes, socks, undies, sunscreen, bug spray, but everyone had to have their own. TIMES 7. The check out lady literally told me where they have oxygen in the store. I must add that I also did get groceries to have here at the house with the sitters until the kids get to camp, and for the rest if our week, but really my kids have no idea what it takes to get them to camp. B and K were with me, and B said, "Wow, I guess I never realized how much it cost or what it took to get us there, I always just think, Camp is here and I am going, no big deal." Thank you Lord for the precious moment of realization. Maybe she can spread her enlightenment to the rest of the family.

Needless to say, I will be busy the next few days, but hope to post from the beach. Please pray for safety and a great time off with our little ones. This treasured time away only comes once a year, so we want to embrace it. I will share our adventures and about camp in a few days.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Summer Fun with Friends

Last night, we had some great friends over for dinner, and they treated us by bringing over their waterslide. What fun. J cooked burgers and hot dogs and LP brought watermelon and cupcakes, what else could any kids ask for on a summer evening?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Lemonade Stand

The girl's grand total after today was $133. 41. Wow!! They of course will be tithing 10% in the morning at church. I attribute such a prosperous day to the hot day. (a crazy 96 degrees in June, whew)

Friday, June 6, 2008

My little entrepreneurs. . . .

Well, as the need for cash would have it. . . my little girls created their own lemonade stand. Our home sits at the end of a drive that meets a speed bump and a stop sign.. . what a spot for a snack station. After much planning and designing, the girls made their supply list, sent me shopping and got to work. Their stand included cookies and drinks. I must say their dad gave them $25 in change to start their business, by the end of a mere two hours they had $66.60. NOT BAD!! Although, they do have to split it between themselves. I just couldn't resist snapping a few shots to share:

Notice the position right near a STOP sign. Great marketing plan.

I loved that the sign read: SmallS and LargeS

These two just couldn't take the heat or the boredom of waiting.. . .

Waiting for cars. . .

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Reading Material?

I need some new summer beach reads? Any ideas people?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fun at the Lake (updated)

We received a phone call from dear friends this weekend inviting us to come up to their lake house for a few days. This family is precious to us and of course my kids would drop anything for a fun time at their lakehouse. After juggling appointments, previous commitments and throwing in a few clothes, we headed off Sunday afternoon.

Only a handful of family friends, excluding relatives, have ever invited ALL of us over. I think many would be overwhelmed at the thought of entertaining our crew, but believe it or not, my kids are unusually very well-behaved when we try endeavors like this. I was very proud of them this week. Our friends had relatives there as well and there was a total of 16 kids and 5 adults. It was a total blast. The kids all got along well, there was only one fight that I know of, and it was two of mine at bedtime. (K and ME scratching each other, but that's another story)

A huge thanks to our friends (the L's) for inviting us, putting up with us, and entertaining my kids for hours on their boat. What a blast and fun memories my kids will have.

Enjoy viewing our fun times.

I realized I neglected to include a few more photos.

Ash relaxing on the dock!

Our fearless hosts!!

ME loving the TUBE!!

Fun times with Daddy!!

These boys fished their little hearts out! Didn't have too much luck.

Little J kissing up, hoping for another invite in the future! Precious.

Fun times on the "Hot Dog!"

Could Little T's mouth open any wider?

I wish I could have heard what they were saying to her. Hold on tight!!!

Nice hair, R!

J and K hanging out on the boat!

Go Big T, go Big T,. . First time ever to kneeboard and did great!

S's first time to knee board, and she made it right up!