Wednesday, July 27

:: The Railroad Park ::

Today we went to the new railroad park. It has the coolest playground for the kids! Not just your typical slide and swings. The kid's favorite by far was this cool rope pyramid. They had so much fun climbing to the top...
And again...
And again...
And again. (Ok, went a little picture crazy on the rope pyramid, but they were having so much fun)
If you haven't been there yet, you definitely should. A new and cool place to hang out.

After Parrish and Lissy had just about had all the climbing and sweating they could stand, we took them to have lunch and a treat at Gilchrist's. While we were there I was catching up with my friend Leslie and talking about all of the craziness in my life. She affirmed my thoughts that all of the recent events in my life could have easily put any sane person over the edge, and like I told her-I've been there back and forth every day for a long time.

It was because of that feeling of being on the edge last night that I was compelled to pull out a Beth Moore book that I read a long time ago, "Praying God's Word." Immediately I turned to the chapter titled, "Overcoming Despair Resulting from Loss." In this chapter I read stories that a year ago would have seemed more than I could bear. It is amazing to me that now, I am one of these women. Our stories are all different, but yet somehow they are the same. We are all living daily in the midst of catastrophic loss because of Jesus. Simply put, there is no other way we can wrap our heads around the fact that we're still putting one foot in front of the other and living a seemingly "normal" life.

By far the most powerful thing I read in that chapter was that we all mistakenly believe that Satan has a heart. That is to say that subconsciously we think that surely he will take it easy on us while we're grieving a huge loss; but Beth points out that nothing could be farther from the truth! When Satan sees you down, he chooses that very moment to launch attack, after attack, after attack. No wonder when it rains, it pours! I have no doubt that we are under attack. But all we can do is pray for protection and lay our grief at his feet-even if that means crying out, "why now? why us?" I underlined these words in that chapter:

"believe God's word that tells us He can and will restore abundant life."

Several times this week God has shown me this verse in various places:

"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14

I am thankful for CC, Renee, and Madge who met at the church this week to get the announcement of the prayer pager ministry in place at Double Oak. We have already been made aware of two more people in need of this ministry in our community and have ordered those pagers to be delivered this week. I will post those pager numbers and prayer requests as soon as they arrive. Thank you for continuing to pray for us!

Monday, July 25

:: Mobile Get-Away ::

So things were not going our way on many fronts this past week and when everything fell apart we felt the fight or flight urge and chose the latter. Glorio and E wanted Parrish for the weekend to play with his fav Ada so we met them in Evergreen to make the exchange and then headed a little further South to Mobile. I spent some time there with the SL Gardening School working back in the day but never got the chance to see downtown and explore the sights, so it was a good (and close) get away to explore.

The architecture there really is beautiful-some rare gems mixed with others that could be but have been run down. The city seems to be doing a good job of working to get all the beautiful old homes back to their former glory though.
We visited the Richards DAR house and had a comical time getting in. We found the front door locked and it looked deserted so we went around to the side door in case we were at the wrong entrance. When we knocked and a lady answered it went something like this:
Us: Are you open?
Her: Why yes.
Us: Well the door was locked so we weren't sure
Her: Well of course it was. We don't open the door until someone rings the bell. But you can come in this way.
So she takes us to the front door and says-if you had done it like you were supposed to I would have started here to tell you about the iron railings.

I don't think we've ever been so thoroughly or nicely scolded for entering the wrong door. What happened to back door guests are best?

You are probably asking yourself who in the world is behind that tree. The answer is-a pole vaulter! While we were there they blocked off Dauphin Street and built a pole vaulting platform. Athletes from all the major Southern colleges and some high school and younger vaulted down the street to music while we all watched and cheered. I never would have thought that pole vaulting would be so much fun to watch, but it was. We had a great dinner that night at The Bull and the vaulting was still going on after dark when it was much cooler and enjoyable (not to mention amazing) to watch.
Ah, the Papillon Antique Store. This mural was on the side of the building. We found many things there we would have LOVED to purchase, but most importantly, found these BEAUTIFUL art deco wedding cake globes (ours actually only have 3 tiers-but you get the idea) We plan to turn them into pendants above the sink in our new house when we move. Yes, this was a purchase of trust-that it would all work out soon with the houses. I just think they are so stunning-the simplicity of the schoolhouse look with glamorous angles. Love it!

Both days we spent some time lounging on the rooftop pool at the Battle House Renaissance-it was so nice. The top of our hotel's sky scraper was our view as we read our book and lounged. Not your average was pretty cool.

Now it's back to reality-and waiting, and praying, and trusting, and doubting and trusting again. About the only thing I'm sure of these days is that I don't know what will happen. But I'm clinging to Jesus because without him there is no way we can have any peace, whatever the future brings. We covet your prayers.

Also, please remember to be praying for the family in our community who lost their little girl. The pager number is 334-705-9211. Thanks, friends!
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Wednesday, July 20

:: Bad News ::

The kitchen, basement, dining room and outdoor areas are packed up but with no place to go. I hardly have the words to explain this because I don't really understand myself, but apparently we've been scammed. The man claiming to buy our house hired a lawyer who told the selling agent that he had received proof of funds when in actuality he had not. As our realtor pushed to receive in writing this proof of funds the lawyer did some digging and discovered that although his earnest money check had cleared there was indeed no such person and no funds. This is a scam that has apparently already been done in our neighborhood once, although we had never heard about it. The end game for the scammers is to get the lawyer to close the transaction having never rec'd the funds, then he's out the cost of the house because of a mistake. Lucky for this lawyer it was caught before it happened. Not so lucky for us.

I'd be lying if I didn't say my head and heart are in a bad place right now. Quite frankly I am sick of bearing burdens. In my mind, it's about time for some good news and I'm ready for God to show up in a big way and deliver us from all these nightmares. I am tired of forcing myself to look at things in a positive light. I feel like we're walking around with a big red x on our back. Marked for disaster at every turn.

But even in this fog of anger and doubt, God is still with me-not in the way I want Him to be, mind you-but with me nonetheless. Yesterday right after we got the news that we would not be moving as soon as we thought I got an email from my friend Autumn. She wanted me to know how closely my blog posts and her bible study and sermon that week had related and pointed me to the book of Habakkuk. This morning feeling completely hopeless I turned to that book and read it all the way through. I'm still listening and waiting (much like Habakkuk did) to hear what all God is trying to tell me in these verses, but I am thankful to know that I am not the only one who has ever shouted out, "God, how long do I have to cry out for help before you listen...before you come to the rescue?" Habakkuk 1:1-2 (The Message). Even a prophet had these moments of doubt about how the events in their life and world could really be working together for good to those who love the Lord.

I hope soon I too will get to the place of praying the prayer of Habakkuk:

"I hear and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. Though the fig trees do not bid and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights..." Habakkuk 3:16-19

For now I am listening and waiting and loving this little boy who is having more fun with cardboard boxes and homemade tents than I've ever seen him have with a toy!
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Thursday, July 14

:: Careful what you ask just may get it! ::

God is so good. A few posts ago I asked you guys to be praying for the quick sale of our home so we could make a move to Mt Laurel. Well, if all goes well with the inspection today (please pray!) our house is SOLD. The only kicker is....we have to be out (yes, packed and moved) in a week & a half. (Pausing to panic here as I type those words. Makes it a little more real.) And what do all organized, focused people do when they are panicking and should be packing? Well, blog of course. :)

But seriously, this is an answer to prayer. With mixed emotions of sadness to leave the only home Olivia and Parrish have ever known and excitement for a fresh start, new home, and great community of friends and family in ML I am preparing to pack fast and furiously (thank goodness for CC-I sent out an SOS and she is going to fly in this weekend to help me pack). The plan is to stay in CC & Grandaddy's carriage house until we can close on our new house and we are thankful we don't have to go to an apartment!

I am on the hunt for some used moving boxes...anyone have a good source or moved recently that wants to get rid of their boxes?

As I side note, Parrish told me while we were at the beach that he now has two girlfriends! One of course has always been me but now he's added my friend Jenn's little girl Ryan to the list. Can you believe that? And he called Ryan's sister Maddie Kay "baby" while we were at the beach! I'm not sure I'm ready for all of this. I was perfectly content being the only one. :)

Tuesday, July 12

:: A week in pictures ::

Sorry for the week-long blog hiatus. We've been on the road again. Specifically (although in reverse order bc blogger is not cooperating with me today) to...
Rosemary Beach, FL to sell our Olivia Charles items at the West Indies Market. It was VERY slow on Saturday and we were worried that it wasn't going to be worth the trip. Thankfully Sunday brought fresh vacationers ready to buy and we ended up doing GREAT. Thanks to everyone who came out, purchased and placed custom orders.
Tappy came to help us set up, sell and watch Parrish and we were so relieved to have her there. I have to say that her displays at the market far surpassed mine. And merchandising wasn't the only thing I got tips on from Taps while we were there! Did you know that you can get a stain out of clothing with liquid hand sanitizer?!? Parrish was beating the heat with a blue (of course) snow cone and 50% of it ended up on his t-shirt. Tappy pulled out her hand sanitizerand had the whole shirt clean in 2 minutes. It worked better than any Tide Pen I've ever used so I am pretty excited about this tip.
Although I never managed to snap a picture of us on our bikes (probably because I was too busy trying not to fall off or get run over by a car), we spent our days there biking everywhere from Alys Beach, to the pools, shopping, the market, and the beach. I love the community atmosphere and the carriage house we stayed in was like our own little tree house.

While we were there I had to take some pictures of our little man. If you'll notice, in several he has climbed a tree. Just the fact that he can do this with his little foot was worthy of documentation. While we were away he started wearing his Keen sandals without socks (yes, this means that he did look like a old man beach comber there for a while sporting socks with his sandals so they wouldn't rub his incisions)
We spent the 4th of July in Andalusia visiting my grandparents Glorio and E and Aunt Susan, Uncle Lex and cousin Ada. I wish Ada lived closer so I could hire her to come hang with Parrish. He adores her and she is so good with him. I heard her say, "What do you want to do, Parrish? The decision is yours." I know those words were music to Parrish's ears. We played with lots of play-doh, set off some kid-friendly fireworks and ate lots of Glorio's yummy comfort food. (Cannon and I fought over the friend okra as usual-that stuff is like popcorn-a race to reach the bottom of the bowl!)

And we spent the first half of our week at Navarre Beach with our friends and neighbors, The Johnsons. We could not stop gushing about the condo (water view from every room and walls and walls of windows...amazing!), the water, and the "unspoiled, old-Florida" feel it has. There is little commercial business on the island and the green water reminded me of St. John. It is by far one of the prettiest beaches we have been. It only made it better that we were there with great friends who love a good adventure. We rented a stand up paddle board (also know as YOLO boards) and gave it a try for the first time. The kids mainly used it as a surf board, and the adults didn't have a ton of luck staying up in the choppy surf, so we moved over to the bay side and all gave it a whirl. After I took a spill and cut my hand on seashells trying to turn the thing around we decided to try the wider board and this was much more our speed. The whole family could fit on this bad boy and we tooled about in the bay.

As usual, this trip was not without it's heartaches. Everywhere I turned there was a little girl about the age Livy would be now. I would watch them and think of all the things Olivia never got to do...try ice cream, swim in the ocean, or toddle around, and life would seem so unfair.

My good friend Mary and her family are moving to Huntsville later this month and I met her for one of our last "in-town" lunches together today. She has encouraged my walk with Christ like no other and I know that God placed her in my life during this season for that very reason. She and Jeff have been a source of biblical comfort, strength and encouragement for us and we will miss them so much. While we were together we were sharing our high's and low's and she said something that will stick with me. That some discontentment in life is good if that discontentment pushes you to seek Christ and walk with Him through your trials. If it causes you to stop depending on people and material things to give you security and happiness and start depending on Christ...the only one who can truly give you peace and contentment.

{Olivia & I last 4th of July. She DID get to see fireworks!}

In my devotion last night I read that many people think Godly people should be exempt from trails and conflicts, but if the life of the disciples is any example, it's pretty certain that the power of God actually brings conflict and struggles. The good news is that these struggles are always overcome with the strength of Christ. "God has nothing worth having that is easily gained, for there are no cheap goods on the heavenly market." I like that thought.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body." 2 Corinthians 4:8-10

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