This Labor Day weekend has been filled to overflowing with happenings so I thought I'd just share a random collection of news on this Monday:
*Saturday morning had us up before the sun to hit the road for Columbus. We spent the day visiting with Jim's parents which included the kids swimming in the creek; target practice for Jim and his dad along with some of the braver offspring; certain little ones terrorizing, er, trying to play with the area's hugest cat; the kids visiting the nearby goats and other farm critters with their grandma; and a down-town shopping exploration for me and the big girls. Since Betsie is planning on attending Mississippi University for Women which is located in Columbus, she's been wanting to check out the shopping options. We were thrilled to find a great consignment store. Oh, she was also pretty happy to see a donut place and Waffle House.
*On Sunday, the youth led the worship service at Restoration Church. God really showed up and empowered, enabled, and moved through them. There was a youth worship team, with Anna as the lead singer and Betsie as a back-up vocalist; a skit that Betsie helped lead and David, Patrick, and Anna participated in; a sermon preached by first-timer Noah Pate (whose papa is our pastor and parents are two of our leaders); and some of the youth even assisted during prayer-ministry time at the end. Sandwiched somewhere in the middle of all of that was a slide show featuring images of our youth and kids involved in missions while the worship band sang Switchfoot's AWAKENING and the end-of-the-VBS program that included our youngest 4. The church was packed out. It looked like an Easter service with so many guests. And to top it all off quite nicely? A huge covered dish lunch with great fellowship.
*If you had stopped by our house Sunday afternoon and evening, you would have found 6 extra youth helping to raise the roof with laughter and shouting. Though they did let us old timers get a good long nap as they went on a 5 mile hike down to the river and around our neighborhood. That was nice! Supper was pizza and watching YELLOW SUBMARINE, the dvd big sister Anna gave little Miss M for her 6th birthday. And after all the extras had left and the little ones were in bed, it was 3 back-to-back episodes of DR. WHO for the rest of us.
*Tropical Storm Lee has been dumping a lot of bad weather on our area over the last couple of days. Thanks to the copious amounts of rain, Anna didn't go to work today after all 3 routes she tried were flooded. We lost power for the whole afternoon so our plans for ribs, potato salad, oven sweet potato fries, and bbq beans had to be cancelled, but after a lunch comprised of very limited options, we were grateful for a simple and cooked supper once the power came on at around 5:00.
*I've been working today on getting clothes ready to turn into a couple of local consignment stores. I sell them and use the money to support various missionaries and African ministries. If you have clothes, accessories, shoes, or nice household items (not cooking stuff but things like framed artwork, candle sticks, and furniture) that you'd like to donate, let me know. I turn things in on a regular basis and would be glad to have your things to help support missions.
*We have decided that we will be raising money for our trip to Swaziland next summer. As a result, I'll be planning fundraisers to be held on probably a monthly basis plus I'll be holding on-line auctions again. Some of the things I know I've got for folks to bid on include jewelry from Thailand, a few items from Swaziland, and African t-shirts. If you have any items you'd like to donate, let me know. Also, if you're someone who has more organization skills than money and you'd like to coordinate a fundraiser for us (garage sale, bunco party, bake sale, etc.) it would surely be appreciated. We are going to have to raise approximately $20,000 for our trip. It takes a lot of money to send 9 people to Africa for 2 weeks. But we know God will provide and after much prayer, we feel the go ahead that this is one of the ways He wants to give us the money.
*I'm still praying for a miracle that would enable me to go to Swaziland this month with the Bheveni group. Like I said, it would totally take a miracle as I have raised no money and made no plans, but it doesn't hurt to hope and pray. Stranger things have happened!
*Little Miss M just blessed my heart big time. She just sang-chanted, "You are the mom of coolest because you love African kids!"
*I'm now reading a fitness book by Leslie Sansone and a missionary autobiography about a couple who were missionaries in Burundi starting in the early 1950's. I'm loving reading about how God called the Littles to missions, brought them together, and prepared them for the mission field. That's as far as I've gotten so far, but I'm looking forward to reading more of their missionary adventures in SLOW MAIL WITH LOVE. I truly used to find these kind of books pretty dry reading but now that God has stirred up my passion for missions and I know we're moving to Africa, I adore them!
*Jim spent part of his day relaxing with a paper model boat book. He made Miss M an old-style Criss Craft Runabout. She's now having a good time playing with it in the bath tub. Yes, paper that is waterproof. Pretty cool, huh?
*I just achieved a goal that's taken me a couple of years to reach. I've finally read the entire Bible thru. I'd read the New Testament thru before but not the Old Testament. I just figured that since I'd been a Christian for a few decades, it was time I had read the whole thing.
*And what does a glimpse into our home look like right now? Freshly bathed little girls are getting ready for bed while 7 year old T takes his bath. Jim is cleaning one of his guns. David and Patrick are playing the Wii. And the big girls are up in their rooms where Betsie is on the phone and Anna is on her laptop. And me? Well, you know what I'm doing. Musing and meandering here at Graceland.