Thursday, April 30, 2009

Excitement with the Cole Clan

Here is the gang tonight at the Drop Zone -

Tonight we ventured out to see a night jump with a "heavy drop" - well the heavy was really rather light, but the night jump was lots of fun to watch. Kristen's friend called to let us know her hubby was jumping tonight and that was exactly what we had hoped to see but did not think it would happen. So after Christy called we made plans to go out and watch. The boys loved seeing soldiers standing around - the vehicles driving around - it was really little boy heaven! Did I mention Christy even brought a soccer ball? What could be better! So we watched a fly-by first, then the planes came back for the drop and the heavy drop ended up being a few boxes of something - nothing too exciting. Then the planes flew by again for a dry run and then they came back and started dropping lots of soldiers. It was lots of fun to watch and listen to stories from James, Kristen and Robert about jumping out of planes, I do not get to participate in those discussions since I am not Airborne I am Air Assault instead. Oh well.

Kristen and me with our little girls:

It was starting to get dark here - but there are lots of parachutes in the sky if you look at the right angle!

More parachutes - but a little blury - still a sight!

Daddy and his happy little princess.

Here are Kristen and Christy - we are sure thankful for her tip about tonight!!

Here are the kids getting excited about the incoming planes - waiting patiently in the stands!

Boys, Boys everywhere - with the occasional girl!

Here is my oldest boy - growing so fast - and losing teeth almost as fast! What a grin!

Here we are at dinner last night - at the new table James made - the kids love it and we love the lack of mess inside!

We are still having lots of fun! Today we met some friends (who we met last time we were here) at the park! The Johnson family also homeschools and they have 3 girls (ages 8, 6, and 2) and they are expecting a little boy! So we played at the park today and here are all the kids present (minus little Kayleigh)

We are going to head to Fort Bragg tonight to see a night jump and a heavy drop - so they are dropping a vehicle and lots of people and the boys are likely to sign up for the Army tonight after seeing all this fun stuff! Tomorrow we are heading to the Special Ops museum with Daddy, because the kids are sure they need to show him all the fun stuff there - they do not fully realize he has seen it all before and done a lot of the stuff they feature first hand! But it is sweet to see their enthusiasm to share it all with Daddy! So we are having a very "Army Strong" few days!!

Saturday we are heading to the beach for the day - can't wait to see the big sand box and sit on the beach and enjoy the water too! I hope to get some good pics - can't beat the beach as a back drop! And the kids should be happy and very entertained by all there is to do there!

Then we start packing back up for the continuation of our journey north to "God's Country" -AKA Maine! Hoping to avoid the Swine Flu on the way!
Here are a few more pics from today! The park is always fun and usually leads to good naps for tired people too - I enjoyed my nap - while Robert hit golf balls with James - and all the kids rested! Always fun!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

En route!

We are en route to Maine still. We are currently in North Carolina with the Lewis bunch and are having a great time!

We had a nice day of playing in the yard and just having fun with friends, and the boys even got to go to Awana tonight with friends we met last time we were here. So we dropped off 4 kids at Awana and then Kristen and I went shopping at Good will! It seems I did not pack enough shorts for my oldest boy, but they did not have any, so we were out of luck. Kristen found a few treasures though as she was in desperate need of some news clothes.

The road trip here went amazingly well, but our kids are veterans at road trips so they usually do well. They were thrilled with our new DVD system in the van - this is a first for us! So they were allowed one movie during our 7 hour day and 2 during our 12 hour day. Not to mention all the great Adventures in Odyssey CDs that I had as well.

Robert and I listened to Sally Clarkson from 1998 I think - her Whole Hearted Mothering conference. It was great! What an encouragement as far as homeschooling and being a mom in general. I enjoyed hearing all of her encouraging advice, and I think Robert realized how big of a scope this homeschooling thing is. Anyway it was great and the kids did not even fuss!

So here we are waiting, trusting and enjoying - we are still feeling excited about this chance to get away as a family and spend some good quality time together. But we are also eager to see the path that God reveals to us and where that will be.

I hope to post some pics of the World's Largest Pinecones - well at least the biggest we have seen - and the kids are loving that!

Monday, April 27, 2009

On the Road again

Yes, we are on the road again. So far we have made it to Mississippi. We had a great evening with my aunt and uncle and a great meal too! The kids loved running in the yard and playing and simply being out of their seats!

We did have to load up in the pouring rain, and we packed much more info our vehicle than we thought we were taking or than would fit. But we finally had it all in the car, the kids too and we headed out. I was expecting a feeling of relief after driving away from the house and I did! It was great to know the house looks great, the kids will not make any more messes (at least there) and that we did not have to do anything else besides visit friends and family and savor our time off.

We are still excited and feeling a great deal of peace through all of this. We are still not sure where God is leading us but we are feeling that we have plenty of time to figure it all out. We plan to enjoy some time in NC with the Lewis family before completing out trek to Maine.

Well, we need to get some good sleep before our long day tomorrow - many thanks to all who are praying for us! We are feeling very safe and secure in the arms of our Lord!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Our Sabbatical

My mother-in-law coined the phrase shortly after we started this journey, and I think we like it.
I have been calling this our Big Adventure, but thought that was really a rather boring description of something much more exciting! And with sabbatical there is a spiritual connotation.

Sabbatical: (n) any extended period of leave from one's customary work, esp. for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.

(adj) 1.of or pertaining or appropriate to the Sabbath. 2. of or pertaining to a sabbatical year. 3. bringing a period of rest.

So yes, we are on sabbatical or this time- hopefully not for a full year. But we are trying to enjoy this "extended period of leave from one's customary work" and see it as a "period of rest" for us as a family before we begin the next part of Robert's career!

The long and short : God is working - very quickly, very audibly, and wonderfully!

Robert began his sabbatical on April 7th. I came home from an Easter party to find him working the garage. He was amazingly calm and has been since. When you are let go and you have 5 mouths to feed "you" are not calm, but when you trust in an amazing God, you feel a peace that you cannot explain. Little did I know that he told God the day before "if God wanted him somewhere else he was going to have to fire him, he was not going to leave his present employer." God did just that in less than 24 hours.

God is like that - when you give up control and yield to his leading, he works fast and well and with it comes a peace - "like a river".

So we are starting our sabbatical and rest time in Maine - does it get any better than that? Well, in May maybe, but by June it will be perfect! On the way, we will hang out in NC with my dearest and best friend and her family (all together) and play! Then we are going to sight see in DC for a little while (1/2 day) and the same thing at our Alma Mater - West Point for 1/2 a day. Then onward and upward to Maine.

Robert will continue to look for a job via the Internet while we are nestled away in solitude - thank you to current technology! I expect that the perfect job is going to fall right in our lap. Yes, I do believe that - why? Well, so far every time we needed something like that God did just that. A wonderful family for our little dog who needed new family - I mean WONDERFUL!! fell into our laps (after prayers over this family with a mutual friend) We have sold stuff at a rate that makes my head spin - and in this economy that stuff does not usually happen. And jobs are already falling out of the sky for us - not the job we feel like God is leading Robert toward, but jobs none the less, and I feel like it is just a confirmation from God that there are jobs, don't fret, and be patient.

So I will be sharing how God is doing great things in our lives, really always has been, but we finally are seeing it every day! So stay tuned and join us in prayer as we sell our house and move to where ever God is leading us - could be OR, NC, MI, ME, TX or ????

God is amazing, and he loves us so much! He is waiting patiently on us to stop trying to control things that are out of our control, to yield to his gentle, loving touch and to follow him to numerous blessings! May you be blessed by our journey - I mean Sabbatical!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I stand in awe these days.

I know that God is working in our lives before we are even aware, leading us down a path or setting things in motion for a bigger picture, but when you get down that path and you look back it is amazing to see all the things he WAS doing.

My friend went back and read some old posts and reminded me of this one in respect to what is going on today in our lives. And I woke up early this morning, and while I should be preparing for Sunday School, I instead chose to read some of my past posts to look back and see God's hand in where I am today. It is amazing to see me blog about what was going on then and how it directly relates to today.

Okay, so it is now Sunday evening as I finish this up and God moved big again today - I should say I saw him move big today - I think he moves big all the time & every day - but so often we miss it.

This morning I prayed (while making cupcakes for my youngest boy's party) that God would speak to Robert at church this morning. That our pastor would say something that Robert really needed to hear. Well, he did that and more. The sermon was "Three things God wants you to know when you are going through a tough time" - okay that was like Adam saying - Hey Robert let me share something with you! The verses he used were ones that I have written on my note cards that I am keeping close by. The same verses are ones that I have been studying for several weeks with an online E-Bible study that I am part of. Okay - I have to say - I love when God speaks in many ways the same thing! LOVE IT!! And today the songs, the sermon, the verses were all so perfectly chosen for such a time as this! I felt like we were once again resting in God's palm. So peaceful and secure!

Of course I have had my moments of doubt even after that great morning. But after talking with my mom, I am once again refocused, re-energized and inspired. She just reminded me that there will be down times and that when we focus on those we lose sight of the big stuff God is doing in front of our face. So I am going to stop letting those thoughts linger, and look to him to lift me up.

God is good no matter what happens. He always is. He is good when times are bad, when we are lost and confused, he is always good. But right now he is good because he continues to encourage and inspire my heart with TONS of little things, verses, friends & family, so many things. I am not going to stop smiling and feeling full of joy despite the crazy turn our lives have taken. I know that he loves all of us, and we are willing to follow and serve him 100% to the ends of the Earth and I mean literally. So how can this not be an amazing journey? I can't wait to see our destination!!

PS - Keep praying for Stellan he should have surgery on Tuesday. Pray for mom and family back home too. Prayer is amazing!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Working Muscles

I have decided that Faith is like a muscle. If you use it a lot it gets stronger and you naturally rely on it. But if you are quite comfortable trusting in your flesh, that muscle gets stronger and it is more natural to go that route.

When you are re-training your body to rely on a new muscle and build it up it is HARD!! Your body really likes the old way, the old muscle and it just feels easier.

That is what my journey has been like these last few weeks. My flesh wants to rely on my flesh, it is pretty solid, confident and used to taking care of things. God, however, is saying let me carry that for you, trust me in this and I will surprise you (every time:)), etc. So I am trying to intentionally choose that path - the Faith one. I want to trust my fears, doubts, worried to HIM because he can handle it better than me, he knows the end, and I simply trust HIM! But when I am not looking, my flesh steps out and tries to retake control. And I am feeling so blessed by how God is drawing me closer to him. I am telling you, I can almost hear God audibly say to me, "are you trusting me? or are you worrying?" and the answer? Worrying. Not about the big stuff, but about things like rain. Silly!! can I control or influence the rain??? NO! But God can and he can make it so the rain does not matter.

So here I am stumbling along, trying desperately to trust him and not fret, worry or stress. And honestly I am doing amazingly well with His help, because none of this is my nature. I love the results. I love feeling peace when I should be anxious (well the world would say so) - I love seeing him working all around me!

This journey we are on is amazing, I am being blessed daily and sometimes multiple times a day by little confirmations I feel are from God. He is constantly confirming to me we are on the right path and just to keep going. Today when I called Kristen she said she is was just writing down a verse for me - timing! That was my confirmation today - his way of saying, "I have the rain thing under control" - so I immediately let go, and felt that peace come over me that I love to feel. And I am trusting. The verse today was from Psalms and here it is:

As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is flawless.
He is a shield
for all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the LORD ?
And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great.
36 You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn. Psalm 18:30-36

The last part is the part Kristen had for me, but I love of these verses in this Psalm - and thought it very relevant to our current journey!

God is SOOOO good ALL the time! And I am hoping to see my muscle of Faith grow in the days, weeks and months to come! I hope that my muscle of flesh withers away in that time too!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Stumbling Heavenward

My pastor used this phrase this Sunday and it was just so timely. Aren't we are stumbling Heavenward? I mean none of us are cruising right along. We are still struggle with our sin-nature. We fall back in to old patterns we vowed to turn from, and sometimes we even intentionally choose to not follow where he is telling us to go.

We have been on a path of new faith these past few days, and I would even say weeks. But it is still a rocky path. As God is calling us ever so clearly to follow him, I find myself sliding back into my sin-nature of worrying, or controlling, and not trusting. This time He gently reminded me that he chose the path we are on right now, he knows where it is heading and where we will end up, and that I do not need to know. That has been made loud and clear. So I went to bed repentant over my fretting and lack of trust and woke up remembering all that God has done, is doing and the peace that I have been feeling while trusting completely in HIM.

So it has been a good few days. Knowing that I do not have to fret about a step I may take down the road, that I only need to watch where I place my feet in the next step. I only need the lamp to light the path my feet are stepping on, just that far, and I know that I get further down this path that God will illuminate my steps when I get there.
Meanwhile, here are some pics from our most recent party!!

The Birthday Girl!!
The girls getting their nails painted!

Paper Dolls for the girls to take home - I love how they came out!!

And the cupcakes for her party!!

The girls are outside enjoying the sun and their cupcakes!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Seeing HIS hand

I am feeling immeasurably blessed today. Seeing God working right in front of you and not mistaking it or thinking it could be anything else is wonderful! It is peaceful and joyful!! That is a lot of "ful"s!

I am seeing God work in Stellan's life as we speak - and he may not need immediate cardiac surgery - which for a 4 month old can be very dangerous! What a miracle that little boy is! What a rock his mother is! What an inspiration!!

And God is working here too. We have found a home for our dog - a task that needed to be done a while ago, but when I tried God gently said no. I did not know that Izzie was supposed to go to the home of a wonderful mom - with 8 kids at home - yes AT HOME, 2 are out already and 2 more from the Ukraine are due in!! Isn't God just cool??

I emailed to check on Izzie last night, and my (new) friend told me that Izzie had been playing non-stop all day with her children, and that her 11 year old son with some issues - has bonded with her unlike any other dog they have owned. She specifically said - I think this dog is going to change his life! AMEN!! What a blessing! I had no idea! But God did and that is just so much fun to see him doing this and opening my eyes to see it all!

I feel like we are resting in his palm, that close to him, able to see what he is doing right in front of us and I can honestly say, I have never felt this way before. I have never turned over the reigns, or steering wheel, or whatever to him so fully. There is such a peace in my heart. I love it!

Wish I could have done this sooner!!

God is good ALL the TIME!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


That is what God has been laying on my heart for some time. So that is what we are about to do in many areas of our lives.

Not going to go into much detail, but let's just say that as God was gently telling me to simplify he yelled it really loud yesterday.

So as I was slowly starting to simplify, as of yesterday we are going to start quickly and efficiently simplifying.

God is just so good all the time. Even in the storms of life.

I am really starting to see (especially through Stellan and his family's fight for his life) that God is there even more in the storms, holding us when we cannot stand, comforting us when we cannot cope, and giving us this supernatural peace when the storms are tearing off windows and doors.

We are in a storm. It officially started - well the warning signs on February 21st about 2pm. That was the first weather report something was coming. Then about 2 weeks later another weather report to let us know it is still coming and bigger than initially predicted. Then each week we heard how it was growing and strenghtening, and well, it hit yesterday. I think we are in the eye of it right now. The initial hit was a blow to all of us. But there is so much peace in the eye - which is really in the gentle hand of God. He is holding us. We are enjoying the peace and I am planning. My nature.

So, I am excited. Have you ever gone outside after a crazy storm? It is a mess. But it smells different, you can almost feel it in the air - like electricity. And that is what we are feeling. But like I said we are in the eye right now. And everyone knows that there are 2 parts to the biggest storms, and the peace in the eye is not the sign it is over. I expect some difficult decisions, and tough days, but as I look forward and trust that God is the bringer of this storm, I am not anxious or worried. For the first time in my life, I am kind of glad to not be in charge - or really trying to be in charge. I have gladly given up the reigns and I will go where I am led.

That is so freeing!

So I hope you stay tuned to the weather channel here - to hear what God is doing and will do in the storm in our lives!

One of my favorite scriptures....

2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2

I am reminded we are just passing through this storm - and that it will not overtake us or set us ablaze! What a promise!
(and just because it is 4:30am does not mean I am fretting, I woke up thinking Anna was screaming - and once I was up I could not turn off my mind. So I am enjoying a few moments of a perfectly quiet house while the rest of our brood dreams!)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Precious Time

It just flies by. It seems like it anyway! I cannot believe that my dear little girl is going to be 3 on Friday! I cannot believe it! I mean, where did the last 3 years go? I know that in those 3 years Kristen has managed to add 2 to her family, but it just seems surreal in a sense.
It just flies by in the good and the bad times. I struggle to hold the precious time I have with my kids in my hand and savor it. But as I try to hold tight to it, it slips out and runs away. The days go by so fast. So I just pray that God is taking my fleeting moments with my kids and allowing them to soak in and make a difference. I mean, that is what it is all about. Leaving a Legacy. I want that. I want my children to grow up and look back at our lives together and feel joy and feel loved more than anything else. I hope that they will look at the hours we spent around our school table or in the park or just reading on the couch and remember the moments that we shared. Not just me with them, but them with each other.
I see their friendships strengthening and that is such a gift. These boys really treasure one another, they have pure joy in their faces when they look at one another and tell each other stories or replay an event. I see the love they feel. When one falls or gets hurt, the others are there to support the injured one and really offer comfort and support. I even am starting to see it with their sister. When the two little ones are alone with each other and they play, I see the love they share. My little girl just loves those big brothers, she looks to them for everything, and they love to provide it all to her. I know that if we went different ways each day for school this special relationship would not be allowed to flourish like it is.
What a gift!
Well, as we plan to celebrate a little girl birthday on Friday there is already so much to do! A tea Pot cake, cupcakes, and more! But it will be fun and I think she is going to love it. The boys will be having a boy party in the back with cousins and friends so they will be entertained too! It will be fun.
But bittersweet too. To watch our youngest get older and more independent is hard sometimes. Watching her demand that she do it her way is tough, but at the same time I love to see the little girl she is becoming. A sweet girl, who loves her family but is very shy to strangers. A girl who always has a smile for me and her daddy and hugs for all of us. She really is just precious, but I do wish the time would slow a bit so I can enjoy her younger days a little more!
Well I must go grab some of those precious fleeting moments with my kids while I can.....


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