Nicole’s favorite author in the world is Nancy Rue. She has read almost all of her books, and participates in a teen blog Mrs. Rue has to encourage other teens in their walks with the Lord. Well, I was able to contact Mrs. Rue and she agreed to meet us for lunch and surprise Nicole. So, late this morning, Nicole and I set out for some ‘one-on-one’ time, and before she knew it she was in a restaurant with her favorite author!! We had such a great time with Mrs. Rue. She is so down to earth and fun to be with. She brought Nicole a present for her birthday consisting of 3 of her recent books, and signed them while we were there! (Let’s see Dad top this one for his one-on-one time with her!). :-) Just kidding! The incredible joy I felt in blessing her made me wonder if that is how God feels when He blesses his children. There’s nothing like it! I’m still savoring the feeling. We came back and hung out at our friends’ house and cooked a lovely dinner. It was a very dark and rainy day, but tomorrow holds the promise of sunshine! Sounds like a metaphor for different times in our lives, eh? Here are a few more pictures from our time with Nancy Rue:
Above are the promised pictures of Tim and his mentor, Bob, and then the 2 of them with 2 of Bob's sons. We really enjoyed our time with them, and I'm SO glad we stayed at the campground last night. Miraculously we had heat up until we unhooked to go fill up with propane around noon! We are SO thankful for that! We used that time in the morning to get showers for all 6 of us, do 3 loads of laundry, and just take care of getting all packed up. Then I got in the driver's seat and took off towards Nashville. I drove for about 3 hours and then turned the wheel over to Tim when it started raining and getting dark (I hate driving at night and I hate driving in the rain, so the combo is a definite avoidance situation for me!).
I just realized a couple of days ago that I can check stats on how many unique sessions are looking at this blog per day, and we have anywhere from 150 to 250 unique hits a day! I was expecting maybe 10-20. I'm so grateful for all the support we've received, and especially for all the heartfelt prayers for us! To give you an update on where we are, our big prayers right now are focusing on Direction and Provision. We still have no doubt we are called to help marriages and families - we still just don't know who exactly we are to provide that care for and how we will connect with them! So that is still a big prayer request. We are so looking forward to being back in Florida for Christmas time! But that's another 2 weeks away. In the meantime, we are enjoying the places God has directed us to go, and will continue to wait on Him for further instructions. :-) May the Lord bless you all richly!
I know my dad is going to be shaking his head when he reads this, but our LP is on empty AGAIN! I promise I checked it yesterday and it still read ¼ of a tank but I checked today and it was below empty (neither Tim nor I have ever seen it read that low before)!! Miraculously, our heat has still somehow been working. We used our usual Little Church time checking the internet, making phone calls, and Tim drove the car into town looking for LP but everyone who has it within a 30 mile radius is closed on Sunday. We prayed as a family that the Lord would direct us, but every place we could find who had it was closed. I should have listened to Nicole because she said at one point, “I think you should drop the matter and come back to it later”, but my response was “Dropping the matter isn’t going to find us LP”. As it turned out, all our efforts didn’t find us LP either! I think the Lord was directing us to rest today and trust Him but we (except Nicole) weren’t listening to Him. The closest places that had LP and were open were either an hour towards Cincinnati or an hour towards Louisville. Since we were planning on leaving to go to Nashville in the morning we thought we’d go ahead and head out and try to find LP in Louisville and just camp at a Walmart. But we had invited the guy who led Tim to Christ back when he was 16 years old over, and he was coming with 2 of his sons (close to an hour’s drive to get to us). They arrived early afternoon, and we had a very nice visit up at the lodge just catching up with them. It was so great to spend the time with them, and before we knew it, it was around 6pm (and dark) when they left. We couldn’t believe our heat was still working. It is now 11pm and the heat is still working! We decided to go ahead and stay here tonight, and if we have to, we can always start the engine and use the heater from the engine to keep us warm. There is literally no one else here in the campground so we wouldn’t be disturbing anyone. :-) The heated bathrooms are right across from us, and I was trying to talk Nicole into sleeping in the girls’ bathroom on sleeping bags, but she wouldn’t hear of it. So anyway, after our friends left, we went ahead and had little church (since that had been delayed with our hunt for LP), and then blessings. I was going to put some pictures on here from our time with our friends but I can’t find Nicole’s camera (it’s not in the usual place) and she’s asleep, so I’ll try to do that tomorrow! Blessings to everyone!
Last night I went up to the lodge to post my Happy Thanksgiving blog entry, and when I went into the lodge it was raining. While I was in the lodge it had evidently stopped raining, and the skies had dropped a beautiful layer of snow that dusted everything around. So when I came out of the lodge the sight of it took my breath away (or maybe it was the cold air that took my breath away?). :-) The kids were so excited this morning. Nathan & Nicholas hopped out first thing and gathered snow from the picnic tables and made snowballs to throw at each other. They had a blast. We had a quick breakfast and loaded everyone up and headed for the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY. We tried to get some pictures of the snow that had blanketed everything on the way there, but I don't think any of the pictures did it justice. Nicole and I keep commenting to each other about how really hard it is to get a good picture. Anyway, we spent the whole day at the museum and had a great time! It's like a visual walk-thru of the first several chapters of Genesis - they did a really great job of making you feel like you were there. It sparked some great discussions among us during lunch and at various times throughout the day. On the way home we got gas for $2.52/gal, which was a huge difference from the $2.95/gal shellacking we had just last week in Illinois - so we were happy about that! We had dinner, hung out, said prayers, and here I am. :-) I'll post the few half-way decent pictures we got today. Hope everyone had a very nice day-after-Thanksgiving!
We have SOOO much to be thankful for! The Lord Jesus, warm beds (especially when we remember to fill up on propane!), food to eat, loving families, great friends, just too much to name! We spent bedtime tonight naming the things we were thankful for. It was a very nice ending to a very nice day. It's been raining the past couple days here, but unlike when we were in Pennsylvania, I haven't felt so cooped up. I think because yesterday evening we were able to get out and go participate in the surprise birthday party for Tim's youngest brother, Joe that his wife threw for him. I was able to see 5 of the 9 kids in Tim's family in one place - I don't think I've ever been with that many at one time. It was great to see them. Here are a few semi-blurry pictures (sorry - that was the best I could do for some reason!):
Then this morning we were all lounging around listening to the rain and having our quiet times, when my sister called around 9:30am to wish us all a Happy Thanksgiving and remind me about the parade being on TV. I was so glad for the reminder, so we turned it on and had a lot of fun watching the parade while I made lots of pancakes. After the parade, the kids watched a dog contest and I took a lovely nap! Tim cleaned the kitchen and did 3 loads of laundry, bless his heart! The rest of us cleaned the rest of the camper in anticipation of Tim's sister, Sue, and her husband's arrival. Then around 3pm we turned the TV back on and watched the end of Miracle on 34th Street. Finally, Tim's sister and husband arrived, so we talked for a little bit in our 'living room' and then headed to the lodge for Thanksgiving dinner. It was so nice sitting around this big round table for 8 and just enjoying being together. I've only spent 2 Thanksgivings in my life away from my parents, and while I really missed them today, I was glad I was able to talk to them and also glad to spend that time with Sue and Mike. They are an awesome couple who deeply desire to bless others with the blessings they've recieved. They've been married 41 years, and are so complimentary of each other - it's really great to spend time with them! Here's a photo Nicole snapped with her new camera (that's right - Walmart took her other one back, thank You, Lord!). It's another one that is a tad blurry, but I guess it just goes with the bleary/blurry weather we've been having. :-)
We spent some time after dinner in the lobby of the lodge, and then we had to bid them farewell. Thankfully, we'll be seeing them again Saturday night at their daughter's house. Tonight it is supposed to be a mix of rain and snow! Brrrr!! We'll see if any of the snow sticks to the ground. Hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving!!
I ordered my charger from ebay on Thursday and received it yesterday! So I’m back online on my computer. Yippee! Yesterday was another ‘unseasonably warm’ day, thank You Lord! It got up to like 73 degrees. We met up with Tim’s sister and husband, and went and visited gravesites. First, their dad’s gravesite, then their uncle Pete’s, then his niece and sister-in-law who died in a car crash about 10 years ago, and finally their mom’s. I never met Tim’s dad, but this is the first time I’ve been here to this area without being able to see Uncle Pete, so that was sad. This was a good reminder of the brevity of life – I kept thinking of a short poem I’ve heard before – I may be butchering it but it goes something like this: Only one life and soon it will be past, only what’s done for Christ will last. I’m not sure exactly what the kids were thinking while we were doing this, but I’m looking forward to talking to them about it. I know they were very interested in finding the oldest person buried at the graveyards we visited. We found a few from the 1700’s! We then went up to Devue park and tried to take a picture with Nicole’s camera at the lookby setting the timer, but the camera dropped and it hasn’t been working since. She had been saving up for like a year to get the camera, and the receipt says it must be returned in 30 days and it is the 33rd day since she bought it, and the warrantee says it only covers defective problems and not damage. So we are praying that Walmart will take it back anyway (even though it is the 33rd day and even though it was dropped). Those are big IF’s in my mind. Anyway, we have 1 picture of the boys and me at Devue Park that I’ll post below, and also a picture of Tim and his sister at their dad’s gravesite. Hope everyone is gearing up for a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Well, as Nathan & Nicole have highlighted we've had some, um, challenges. To amend Nicole's update about my computer power cord working sometimes, it is now officially dead. So if you're expecting an email from me, please be patient while I await the delivery of my replacement power cord! But I think the biggest challenge happened right after Nicole posted her update yesterday. It involves, yet again, tires. We left Carbondale yesterday morning and drove to northern Kentucky - about a 5 1/2 hour drive. We were about 30 minutes from our campsite, and Tim pulled off onto an exit ramp. I asked him why he was pulling off, and he said something sounded wrong. Turns out we had a shredded tire on our camper! Argh! And we were scheduled to meet Nathan's best friend from our former neighborhood and his family at our campground in about 90 minutes. We called Good Sam of which we are a member and found out we didn't purchase the RV towing. We could add it but it wouldn't be valid for 3 days. We called AAA and it was the same story. So - thankfully it was an outside tire on our back left side (not an inside tire), so Tim pulled the camper up on our leveling blocks and changed the tire himself, along with Nathan & Nicholas' help. They did a great job! 45 minutes later we were back on the road, and made it in time to meet our friends with about 15 minutes to spare! But now we have a dilemma. What caused the tire to shred? Was it dry rotted from sitting in our side yard for so long? If so, that means we should replace ALL the tires on the camper. Can you say cha-ching?? So, please be praying for us for wisdom for this situation! On a brighter note, we had a wonderful visit with our friends! Here are a few pictures we snapped with them:
We had a very nice day today. After our friends left to finish their trek up to Michigan to be with their family we had a lovely Little Church time, and then hung out for a couple of hours. We then drove into "Tim's territory", namely, Covington where he was born and grew up, and we were able to go to the Catholic church (where he went to school) for a fundraiser dinner. We walked around the school and church grounds while he told us stories of his childhood. It was really cool. And then we walked right next door where his youngest brother lives and spent some time with he and his family! Then it was up to Devou Park to try to see the overlook of Cincinnati, but it was closed from dusk to dawn (and it was well after dusk). We'll have to go back later this week. It was really a beautiful day today, and it's supposed to be nice again tomorrow - in the 70's! Yeehaw! We're trying not to think of the forecast for later in the week just yet (hint - it's going to be cold and rainy!). Well, I hope everyone's had a nice weekend, and let me say again how much we so appreciate your prayers and encouraging comments!! Blessings to all!
I just want to give a little tribute to my sweet friend, Jamie, from Junior High. I know middle school is such a volatile time in a kid’s life, with hormones and emotions raging, and I am so very thankful for a best friend to navigate that time in my life with. We lived close enough that we could walk to each other’s houses, and we were just inseparable. It has been so great to pick back up with her this week. Jamie is so sweet natured, but she’s also very spunky, and I love that! She, along with her husband, has raised 2 wonderful children that I had the privilege of finally meeting yesterday. Her son graduates from college next month with a computer degree, and her daughter graduates this spring as a dental hygienist. Her parents have been married 50 years (next year), and they have lived in the same approx. 600 sq. ft. house (built and lived in initially by his grandfather) that they moved into right after they got married. I admire that kind of faithfulness and contentedness – such a rarity these days. Jamie copied a thing about friendship onto construction paper and gave it to me back in Junior High. I found it when I was going through my boxes getting rid of stuff before we left on this trip. I scanned it and am including it here (click on the link below). I pray we all have Jamie’s in our life!
I think whenever our children hit milestones there’s always mixed feelings involved for me. Happy for their healthy growth, but sad saying good-bye to another year of their childlikeness. But it was a great day, today. A time for reminiscing about my own childhood, while experiencing our kids’ entry into the teenage years. I would like to rewind and talk about our week so far here. We arrived on Saturday here in Southern Illinois at the local Walmart, and my best friend from Junior High (that was before it was called ‘Middle School’) came out to meet us at our camper. She and I had such a great time catching up on each others’ lives, and she filled me in on so many people I knew when I lived here. I just had a blast with her!
The next morning we had Little Church right there in the parking lot of Walmart (we’re calling it Camp Wally these days). :-) Well, about 2 years ago, Tim cast a vision for our family from Isaiah 58, verse 12:
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
He had written that verse on our white board in our kitchen/dining room, inserting the kids’ names where it says Your people and You. Anyone who has been to our house within the past 2 years can testify it was there, because it stayed up there for at least a year before we finally erased it so we could actually use the white board. :-) Well, as I was praying about what passage to bring to Little Church, I was also praying about our finances and for direction. I sensed He was telling me to go back to that passage, so I did, and the verse right before it says:
The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
I just smiled at God at how personal He is. When it came time for me to share my verses with the others in Little Church, Tim was a little freaked because those were the same passages he had been led to bring. We’ve been doing Little Church on Sundays for about a year and a half now, and we’ve maybe brought similar verses to Little Church because of something we all read in our Life Journals that week. But this seemed completely out of the blue. And then the same thing happened with Nicole and Nicholas. They both brought the exact same passage – not anything we had read that week in our Life Journals. In the movie The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya is trying to get away from The Man in Black, and they are both using sailboats, but The Man in Black was gaining on him, at which point Inigo muses, “I wonder if he’s using the same wind I’m using?” I LOVE that line. I couldn’t resist saying to our family, “I wonder if you’re using the same God I’m using”? We all busted out laughing at that one!
Well, it seemed pretty obvious to all of us God had some things to say to us that morning. One of them was about keeping the day holy. Verses 14-16 of Isaiah 58 are all about that. We had been planning on doing a bunch of laundry and going grocery shopping – but Tim suggested we go ahead and honor those verses, and I’m so glad he did. We left Camp Wally after lunch and went to a real campground. Then that night, my friend and her husband graciously treated our family to dinner at a lodge in the state park near where we are camping. He (my friend’s husband) asked us some great questions about the direction we’re being led in ministry, and he really confirmed and encouraged us in the area of reaching out to provide care to pastors and church leadership. We still just don’t know how that’s going to happen! Anyway, here’s a picture from our time together:
Monday we did school in the morning and then the laundry and grocery shopping (which I originally felt HAD to be done the day before) in the afternoon. Turns out, we didn’t really HAVE to do it the day before (Sunday) after all. Which brings us to today, and the triplets’ birthday. For details on today check out Nicole's blog. One thing I will say is that when we gave them their cake we didn't have any candles so we put 3 matches on the cake and tried that. Only Nathan got to blow one out because the others burned out by the time we finished the Happy Birthday song. So we lit a separate match for Nicole and then for Noah for them to blow out. When all else fails, improvise! :-) So far, a great week here in Southern IL. Looking forward to the next few days here, and then we’ll head east to Tim’s old stomping grounds for Thanksgiving week. Blessings to all!
You know, I spent a big part of my pre-school years here in St. Louis. But we didn't live here. We lived 2 hours from here. I was in the children's hospital - Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital to be exact. My kidneys kept getting infected but they couldn't figure out what was wrong. They just knew I would spike really high fevers so they'd pack me in ice and put me in an oxygen tent. Turns out, I had urinary reflux, but it took them a long time to figure that out. I evidently came very close to dying, and even coded at one point. It's amazing to think about. I have a lot to be thankful for! It makes me even more appreciative of the 4 hour round trip drive my parents took on MANY occasions, while they still had to take care of my older brother and sister. I don't know how they did it. When I was finally healthy I tried to use my illness to its full advantage, even saying to my siblings that I should be allowed to go first in a game because, (said with dramatic feeling), "I was in the HOSPITAL". You can imagine how well that went over! :-) We still joke about that one. It felt like a victory to be back here with my kids. We had a really great day yesterday, with (again) unseasonably warm weather. Check out Nicole's last update for a lot of the details. One of the things she left out was that when we visited the old court house they let us do a reenactment of the Dred Scott case. They have transcripts of the trial, and even a robe and gavel for the judge (Nathan got to play that part), so we each took parts and acted them out. It was a great learning experience. I had heard of the Dred Scott case but I really had no idea what it was about. As Nicole said, we then met up with a friend of mine and her daughter and had a very nice visit! My only regret is that we didn't take ANY pictures with them! Argh! Well, anyway, I'm posting a few pictures here of us and the arch - hope you enjoy! (I can't remember whose idea that 2nd picture was - Tim's or Nicole's - but it makes me smile - hopefully it does you, too). :-)
Tim & Jodie