Thursday, April 27, 2023

8 years already?

We just celebrated our 8 year anniversary of starting VSIBC. 8 years already?!?!

We had a wonderful service! Our special speaker was Dr Don Strange. He's definitely a favorite around here! And since he was my pastor growing up and the pastor that Patrick was saved under, he has a special place in our hearts. 

After the service we headed over to the Civic Center. We had a beautiful meal together, shared testimonies, and then heard more preaching. It was all so good!

Looking back over the past 8 years, I stand in amazement of all God has done. He's been so faithful every step of the way. Praise the Lord!


Monday, April 17, 2023

When your hometown changes

About a month ago the kids and I took a trip down south.  We always love time that we get to spend with my parents.  They spoil the kids.  They spoil me.  We always come back refreshed.  I sure do love my Mom and Dad!

This trip was no different.  We went to one of my favorite stops, SunHarvest.

They pack oranges of all kinds.  The best part is their tasting staion where you can sample all kinds of juices.  I think my favorite is Cranberry Orange.  Or maybe Strawberry Orange.  It is so delicious!

And then we always get their ice cream.  It's the best!

Mom cooks for us and the kids play.  We all thought it was funny that Micah's plane landed in my Mom's sausage gravy!

Then they took us to the Edison Home.  That was so fun!  While me ,Silas , Callie and Micah explored, Mom and Beth went for tea.  They enjoyed their time, and so did we!

Micah is my inventor at heart and he was amazed at Thomas Edison's workshop.  He wants a workshop now too!!

And then we decided to take a trip down to the beach.  I have so many memories of going to Fort Myers Beach.  It was definitely my happy place growing up.  My Mam-maw and Pap-paw would take me there before I was in kindergarten.  They used to come for some of the winter and I would have them all to myself.  I would get so brown!! I loved it!

Then, my Grandpa and Grandma lived in a house on the way to the beach.  I loved going there and spending time with them!  Grandma made the best ham and eggs ever!!  When we got older Grandma would take us to the FishMonger near the beach.  They had the best fried shrimp I'd ever had.  We had lots of family dinners there.  We all loved it, but I realize more and more everyday why Grandma loved it there....her family was around a table with her.  She loved being with us.

So driving to the beach was different this time.  I heard the destruction from Ian was bad.  I'd seen pictures.  But, seeing it for myself was different.

I saw many shrimping boats all tangled up together on land.  And this is months after the hurricane.  The destruction was massive and totalled everything in its path.

I saw the cool TShirt/Souvenir Shop that we would go into.  It's destroyed. 
Huge homes and hotels were completely washed out to sea.

I guess the hardest was seeing my Dad's carlot.  Even though he sold it a few years ago and retired, seeing his office gone was sad.  Although it's pretty neat that the shed he built is still there. That's pretty cool! Even some of the flowers that he had planted were starting to bloom.

We decided to head down to the beach for a bit.  It was fitting that they were experiencing red tide.  There were lots of dead fish and all kind of animals littered on the beach.  I didn't realized how many sea snakes there were!!

We also found this.  Any ideas what it is?  We googled it, but still don't know.

I'm finding in my life that seasons change.  Things change.  We grow and grow older.  Even your hometown can change.  Yes, they are actively rebuilding, but will it be the same?  No. 
But that's okay.  It's a good reminder to me that this world really is not my home.  Heaven is my destination.  I am thankful for the memories God lets us have all along the way!


Wednesday, April 12, 2023

The greatest moments of being Lolli

Being a Lolli (or grandma) has completely changed my life.  I never realized how much these precious kiddos would take a place in my heart.

They smile, and then I smile. 

They need me, and it makes me smile.

Sometimes they even get in trouble, and as a Lolli, I smile because even then they are so cute!  

There are many great moments in being a Lolli.  Like when they reach for you,

Or when they are so excited in little things they get to do with you, like go to the park, or have tea parties.

I love the moments when they fall asleep in my lap and they are content. And so am I.

I love when they look up at us and smile with their eyes.  Even though they can't talk yet, you know they are saying, "I love you Lollipops!!"

I love the moments I catch them doing something new, like standing on their own and I get excited, and then they do too.  We have the same humor and same excitement. :o)

I love when they want to show me new and crazy things.

I love when one of them is wearing something new and can't wait to show me, 

or when they are just as excited as me about a new goat coming to live on our little farm.

I love to watch their eyes light up as they experience new things.

There are so many amazing moments when being a Lolli.  But I think one of the very best moments is when.... get a late night call to come over.  As you arrive you see Freedom at the door with excitement. She is having a hard time waiting to share her news and keeps asking her Daddy, "Can I tell them now??"  Once we all come in and sit down, she smiles a smile that brightens the night and says, "I got saved!"  Wow, what a moment!  I know the Bible says the angels rejoice when a soul gets saved, but there was definitely a lot of rejoicing happening here, too.  We are all so happy for our Freedom!  She is almost the same exact age her Daddy was when he realized that he was lost without Christ.  He realized that all his good things he did, even as a little boy, would never be enough good to get him to heaven.  He needed a savior, someone to pay his way.  He realized that that is why Jesus died, to pay his sin debt to heaven.  He did all the work for us!  Just as her Daddy prayed and asked Jesus to come into his heart and save him, Freedom did the same. 

So many great moments being a Lolli.  But, I think moments like these are the best!!