Tuesday, December 31, 2013

farewell 2013

There goes another year.
How very fast they slip by.
Remember when it seemed like Christmas would never arrive...
when it was somebody else's responsibilty
to make the magic happen
and all we had to do was wait?

2013 has been an extremely difficult year.
It started with my father's death in January and continues on.
So many times in the walk of faith,
God takes you to places you don't want to go.
He does this for our good,
but sometimes the pain in getting there is overwhelming.

"How can we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?"
Psalm 137:4

For the last several months of this year
I have been in a foreign land,
tethered to this world and its foolishness,
unable to sing the Lord's song.
If the truth be known,
many believers find themselves in this place more often than not.

So many Christians don't want to admit to the hard times...
want you to believe that "the walk" is all joy and light.
Never is anything farther from the truth.
I know so many people who are suffering,
some through no fault of their own.
others from bad choices etc.

We get to heaven tattered and torn after doing battle with Satan all of our lives.
That is why when we finally see His face
 we fall down 
in wonder and amazement
 at all He has done to get us there.

There is hope in 2014.
Whatever He is doing in our lives
 will eventually work out for our good, 
because He has promised that it will.
Still very thankful for the good times and the difficult!

Here are a few of the many good times.....

Sunday, December 29, 2013

let's go for a walk on the beach

Forget about all this Christmas stuff,
let's go to the beach!.
What started out as a rainy Sunday morning
ended up being a warm, balmy, lovely afternoon...
perfect for a walk on the beach.

There I am with the birds
 enjoying being in the slightly cool surf 
and remembering that spring is just around the corner.
the days are starting to get longer.

After buying some sparklers for our New Year's Eve celebration 
and eating some delicious Georgia raised fried shrimp, 
we headed for home facing a gorgeous sunset.

You know, the best is yet to be.
One year closer to heaven
and all of its wonders.
No more sin and sorrow,
only love and rejoicing to be with our Lord,
praising Him and enjoying Him forever!

So glad we get to enjoy a little heaven while still on this earth.
The beach is that for me!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

christmas nite

No Christmas Day is complete
without a family
gathered around the board game that
Santa brought that morning.
We laughed till we cried.

Somewhere along the way in these last two weeks,
I wrote down this quote.
I love it so.....

"Oh, to have
"the word of Christ"
always dwelling inside of us....
in the memory, never forgotten;
in the heart, always loved;
in the understanding, really grasped;
with all of the 
powers and passions of the mind
fully submitted to its control."
C. Spurgeon

Not much time to read and study in these last few days.
Was glad for what truth was residing in my heart to get me through.
Was very glad to get up early this morning 
and sit before the fire reading my most favorite book on this earth...
the Bible.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas morning

Christmas is always amazing and so much fun.
We realize everything we have comes from God...
there is no other source.

God sent His son into the world to die for us.
We celebrate Christmas once every year.
We celebrate Jesus every day.
Thank you God for Your gift to us of
eternal life through Your son

Monday, December 23, 2013

christmas ~ the real meaning

Every year on Christmas Eve
we have a big gathering of family at our home.
Every year we read the Christmas story from the Bible.
The children dress up 
and recreate that beautiful truth.

What does it mean?
Why do we do this?

"If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, 
they would be the words: 
"God with us."

We tend to focus our attention at Christmas 
on the infancy of Christ.
The greater truth of the holiday is His deity.

More astonishing than a baby in the manger,
is the truth that this promised baby
is the
omnipotent Creator
of the heavens and the earth!"

John McArthur
The Miracle of Christmas

The baby in the manger is the Savior of the world.
I praise Him tonight for what He did.
Jesus was born so that He could die
to pay the price
 that we could never pay
so that we could be reconciled to God 
and spend eternity with Him.

Worship Him with me this season.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Archie is home ~

Right on time.
What a great reunion was had at the
Savannah airport.
Tears and laughter,
Family and friends,
  much rejoicing.
Thankful for this sweet little guy who has come to join our family.
To God be the glory great things He has done!

Friday, December 20, 2013

the case of the missing wise man

Yesterday Gus took one of the Playmobile wise men outside.
This is a major no-no.

There is a large drain in our backyard where three yards intersect.
Somehow the wise man ended up floating in the drain
about three feet down in some really gross water.

Lucy and Harry were dismayed.
Gus was noncommittal.
He could easily let that thing go.

The children kept up a vigil at the drain,
giving intermittent reports on the wise man.
"He is sinking grammy,
only his head is above the water."

"Okay kiddos....
go tell granddaddy about our dilemma 
and let him think about it for a while.
He will come up with a rescue plan."

Granddaddy can fix anything.

Sure enough, this afternoon,
Granddaddy duct taped a slotted spoon
 to a broom handle and attempted a rescue.
That plan didn't work,
it only caused the wise man to sink further into the muck.

The only solution was to remove the drain cover,
but that thing weighed a ton.
Granddaddy goes to the garage,
comes back with a long piece of metal,
and lifts the cover.
Then he was able to fish the wise man out with the broom-spoon.
There was much rejoicing!!!

Alls well that ends well.
Thank the Lord for granddaddy!
Look at that culprit Gus...
He has a very smug look on his face.
Oh the excitement he caused!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

lucy and the appaloosa

This had to be one of the happiest days of Lucy's life.
She got to ride a horse named Tony.
This was her birthday present from her
granddaddy & me.
When all was done and she slid out of the saddle,
all she could say was,
"That was awesome."
She was almost at a loss for words.

Before she could ride, she got to groom him.
She brushed his coat and combed his mane and tail.
She helped get the mud out of his shoes,
she brought the saddle pad over,
and she helped put his bridal on.

Lucy rode high and proud.
Other than Tony's propensity to stop and eat hay,
she didn't have a bit of trouble.
Miss Linda said she has lots of potential 
to be good with horses.
I was one proud grammy!

The only stupid thing I did today
was lock my keys in the car at the stable.
Thanks to a quick call to AAA,
we were on our way in no time.

Love this little girl to the moon and back!
By the way,
did you see the moon just now...
Amazing show and reason to praise Him because
He hung it there you know.

Just loving life...

Monday, December 16, 2013

keeping kids

First of all...
they know everything already.
with that in mind,
your "keeping kids" experience will go much smoother.

Bath time is chaotic.
Never let a child play with a "hand held shower device"
without supervision.

This happened yesterday while we were getting ready for church....
Lucy went completely buck wild in the shower
with the above mentioned device.
More water on the outside than in the shower itself.
Somehow Harry and Gus got loose and headed into the wet bathroom.
I ran in to herd them back out and landed
flat on my bottom.
Lucy innocently stuck her head out of the shower and said...
"You alright grams?"
Miraculously I escaped serious injury and death.
My upper left thigh is pretty sore,
but other than that I feel lucky!
No hospital visit this time.

There is a never-ending supply of dirty clothes.
I washed 5 "super" loads today..
changed Gus twice before lunch.
"Sippy" cups do not work no matter what you think.
Apple juice pours out immediately when you hand the cup to the child.

Outside means "in and outside."
how many times can a child open and close a door in a day.
They need water, food, bathrooms, dry shoes, tears dried, boo boos kissed etc.

Some kids talk incessantly....
I am keeping one that sings incessantly...
He wakes up singing,
he goes to sleep singling.
He probably sings in his sleep too
but I am too completely exhausted to even hear.
Falling into bed,
I go into a deep, wonderful slumber 
dreaming that I am much to old to "keep kids."

I love them.
They make my life a happy hoot.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

me and santa ~ 1950

I was two.
I believed in Santa well into my double digits.
In some ways I still believe....
that's how naive I am.
Even when I found my doll crib in the back of our Chevy II,
I came up with a way to explain it away.

Even still,
I love to see things through the eyes of a child,
love to believe what people tell me is true,
sometimes to a fault.

The wonder of it all...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

the orphanage in china

This is Archie in his little bed at the orphanage in
Guangzhou, China.
He lived here for the first five and a half years of his life.
Now he has a mom and dad
and a family just waiting for him to come home.

Bubba and I are just starting our part of the plan.
Yesterday we drove to Raleigh, North Carolina,
to pick up Lucy and Harry and Gus.
They stayed for over a week with their Nonnie there.
We drove back home today.
Right now I am tired and overwhelmed,
but tomorrow is another day.
Always feel better after a good night of sleep.

Thank you
 for all of the thoughts and prayers
 that have come our way.
Keep them coming this week 
as we practice being parents again....
not easy for these old bodies.

If all goes as planned,
David, Erika, and Archie will arrive home next Saturday night,
just in time for Christmas.

May God in all His glory 
continue to shine down His intricate care upon us.
Thankful tonight
for all of the answered prayers.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

thinking about my Savior as a child

When Jesus was a boy,
did He swing on the gates of Galilee?
Did He bring home foundling pups and kittens,
Scuff His sandals,
Lose His mittens,
Weight His pockets with a treasure
adult eyes could never measure,
Scratch His hand,
Stub His toe,
on rocky hills where cactus grow,
Set stones and quills and bits of thread
on the windowsill by His bed
so that on waking He could see
all yesterday's bright prophecy?

when Jesus was a boy,
Did He play tag with the boys next door,
Tease for sweets at the nearby store,
Whittle and smooth a spinning top,
in His father's carpenter shop,
Run like the wind to sail His kite,
Smile and sigh in His sleep at night,
Laugh with you in long lost springs
about a thousand small, endearing things?

Is He the one that said that you
should always dye your dresses blue?
With eyes bright as cinnamon silk,
pink lips ringed with a mist of milk
did He.....
lifting His earthen cup say:
"Just wait till I grow Up?"

I found this with my very old things.
At some point I must have loved it enough to save.
I still love it!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

our tree ~ 2013

I finally finished decorating it this morning.
It takes me a long time because
I am creating a work of art.

There is nothing more nostalgic
 than opening the boxes 
that contain the family Christmas tree ornaments.

Last year, on January 11th,
our tree was still up.
That was the day my dad passed away.
David and Erika came in the afternoon and took it down for me.
I was not prepared for the tears that appeared
 when the box was opened and I saw them all again.

The Christmas music,
the memories,
the smells,
each little hanging treasure,
all combined to make it a really emotional time.

To top it all off,
I had moma and dad's box of ornaments as well.
I really lost it when I saw mom's handwriting,
designating her little hangers.

Sweet, sweet memories of two people I loved very much.

The tree?
Probably my best work ever.
Couldn't have done it without the man
who did all the hard work.
*Just want to sit and gaze.

Monday, December 9, 2013

they got him!

This picture was taken at the orphanage yesterday
when David and Erika went to pick Archie up.
Look at his little face.
David said he was very sad,
but also very brave.
He was leaving his best friend and all he had ever
known in his very brief life behind.

This is what we know about him so far...
He kept inching closer and closer to David.
He is very sweet.
He is content in the hotel room, but not out in public.
He fell out of his bed,
they put him back in,
and this morning he was asleep on the floor all covered up.
He is very smart.
He has great handwriting.
He likes to play games and with toys.
He is even a little hugger.
He has a mild disposition and  is very obedient.

God has blessed.
Pray for the transition this little guy is going through.
I cannot even imagine his struggle.

Walking by faith...
waiting for Him to lead and guide.
plucked by the grace of God from an orphanage in China
into a loving family.
What an amazing thing our God has done!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas door ~ our house

Nothing says Christmas
 like a beautiful live frazier fir wreath
 and a big, red bow.
Nothing else is needed
 but friends and family coming through the door.

I just love the following quote.
It is what makes living the Christian life such a delight.
Knowing this truth trumps everything else
 and we can live with the peace of God in our hearts 
waiting for His return.


"Just as the telescope and the microscope show us
 that there is an order and design in all the works of God's hand,
 from the greatest planet to the least insect,
 so does the Bible teach us
 that there is wisdom, order, and design
 in all the events of our daily life. 

There is no such thing as chance, luck, or accident 
in the Christian's journey through this world. 
 All is arranged and appointed by God
 and all things work together for the believer's good."
JC Ryle

Saturday, December 7, 2013

a real labor of love

What I love about Bubba...

He willingly, without murmuring or complaining,
puts the lights on the Christmas tree.
This is a big one.
You can see how much taller it is than
his height of six feet.

It is still not decorated,
I will do that tomorrow.
It is leaning,
but that can be corrected.
It is hard to manage,
but I think it will be fine when we get it in place.

As we have aged together,
we have gotten better.
We were riding along the other day 
"You know Bubba, I said,
 we work together like a well-oiled machine."
He is strong where I am weak
I am creative where he is not.
We are better now than we have ever been.

Thank you my love 
for all that you are
 for all that you always have been,
and for all that you yet will be.

"Two are better than one,
because they have a good reward for their labor."
Ecclesiastes 4:9

Thursday, December 5, 2013

happy birthday baby girl

Today Lucy turns eight.
Eight is great!
Eight wonderful years to watch you grow,
to laugh with you,
to love you!

If you see Lucy,
she has a book in her hand.
She loves to read!
She and I both fall asleep every night with a book.
For her birthday,
when she gets home from North Carolina,
I am going to take her horse back riding.
We will probably eat some crab legs too.
She has become an expert crab picker this past year...
I have taught her well.

Her mom and dad left for China early this morning.
Soon she will have three brothers
instead of two.
She has a big responsibility
 to set a good example for all of them.

I pray that God will continue to make you beautiful in Him.
That your spirit will soar as you learn
to love God 
with all your heart.

May you always melt my heat with your smile.
I love you Lu,

Lucy at eight in her new pink coat!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

the Christmas tree

It is over eight feet tall....
so beautiful.
It  filled the van with that wonderful
Christmas tree smell...
nothing else like it.
Right now it is sitting on the porch
Soon it will be filled with lights and much loved ornaments.
I will be able to see them
sparkling in the children's eyes.
It is Christmas....full of wonder!

"Everything of good that we enjoy,
however little it may be,
comes from God."
Charles Spurgeon

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

a little five year old boy in china...

...is about to meet his forever mom & dad.

What do you think by looking at the picture.....
mischievous or laid back?
I'm thinking that very soon we will find out.
William Archibald Cleland,
aka "Archie,"
will be around our Christmas tree this year...
to God be the glory!

To everyone who has given and prayed,
we offer up our thanksgiving.

Dear Archie,
You are coming home to a big, loving family.
You have two brothers and a sister
who cannot wait to play with you,
aunts and uncles,
and church family
are all waiting with great anticipation
to meet you for the first time.
You have a cat named "Red,"
and you and Harry will share bunk beds.
You have a nice back yard and a trampoline.
I bet there will  soon be a big bicycle for you as well.

Most of all little Archie,
you will be dearly loved.

Hurry home now,
we cannot wait!