Saturday, August 20, 2016

Like Wings of Eagles

I ran across this poem the other day and it completely made Isaiah 40:31 come alive for me.

One day when walking down the street,
On business bent, while thinking hard
About the "hundred cares" which seemed
Like thunderclouds about to break
In torrents, Self-pity said to me:
"You poor, poor thing, you have too much
To do. Your life is far too hard.
This heavy load will crush you soon."
A swift response of sympathy
Welled up within. The burning sun
Seemed more intense. The dust and noise
Of puffing motors flying past
With rasping blast of blowing horn
Incensed still more the whining nerves,
The fabled last back-breaking straw
To weary, troubled, fretting mind.
"Ah yes, it will break and crush my life;
I cannot bear this constant strain
Of endless agravating cares;
They are too great for such as I."
So thus my heart consoled itself,
"Enjoying misery," when lo!
A "still small voice" distincly said,
"'Twas sent to lift you-not to crush."
I saw at once my great mistake.
My place was not beneath the load
But on the top! God meant it not
That I should carry it. He sent
It here to carry me. Full well
He knew my incapacity
Before the plan was made. He saw
A child of His in need of grace
And power to serve; a puny twig
Requiring sun and rain to grow;
An undeveloped chrysalis;
A weak soul lacking faith in God.
He could not help but see all this
And more. And then, with tender thought
He placed it where it had to grow-
Or die. To lie and cringe beneath
One's load means death, but life and power
Await all those who dare to rise above.
Our burdens are our wings; on them
We soar to higher realms of grace;
Without them we must ever roam
On plains of undeveloped faith,
(For faith grows but by exercise
In circumstance impossible).
O paradox of Heaven. The load
We think will crush was sent to lift us
Up to God! Then, soul of mine,
Climb up! Nothing can e'er be crushed
Save what is underneath the weight.
How may we climb! By what ascent
Will we crest the critical cares
Of life! Within His Word is found
The key which opens His secret Stairs;
alone with Christ, secluded there,
We mount our loads, and rest in Him.

-Mary Butterfield

May you be blessed today as you learn to soar on "wings of eagles"!

Monday, August 15, 2016

My Firefighter

 I absolutely LOVE this picture of Steve and his "guys" (Kurt, and Hal). The tilted hats, immediately make me think of great humor and fun that these guys maintain on a daily basis while doing their job. They are on a grass fire in this picture. Steve has had his wild land gear for over 20 years! I guess the other guys just got new ones and need to break them in.

These images are of Steve fighting a house fire last month. The way the fire engine's lights were shining through the smoke was breathtaking. Another firefighter named Casey took these photos.

I am so proud of my firefighter. He works so hard for our family. Lots of overtime this summer has kept him at the station for long periods of time. I am so thankful that the Lord has kept him safe all these years...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Canadian Trip Part 2

Here is the rest of my trip...

 Camille took us around a beautiful park in the middle of the city called Stanley Park. It would be the equivalent to Central Park for New Yorkers. The park had many features and was HUGE! Jackie and Jenn are taking pictures of the ocean. This is right after Jackie dropped her cell phone down a small cliff in the bushes. I had a hold of her while she fished it out. It was pretty scary, but then we laughed hard when she found it. Whew!

This was my favorite spot in the park. It was very tranquil here.

This was a little lighthouse.

The King's Cross bridge, I believe.

 The favorite activity for me was going to High Tea at the "White House". It was owned by a doctor in the 1800's. Very quaint!

 Camille, and Jenn getting ready to have High Tea...

 The presentation was beautiful, and the food was as amazing as it looked. Such different flavors and variety!

 It didn't look like a lot of food, but by the time you got to dessert you felt like you were ready to pop!

We ate in the carriage room where the good doctor stored his carriage. Very cool! I loved the ladder resting on the rafters.

Before we left Camille's we asked if we could see their son, Austin's grave. Austin died a few years back and was an integral part of their family. Camille was very honest in her grief and has used her pain to point people to the Lord and share her testimony over and over again. I have never met any couple so eternally-minded. The love Jesus so much and they can't wait to be reunited in Heaven with their son. The was the most well-tended grave I have ever seen. Thank you, Camille for sharing your hope with us.

 Here we are back in the States. Again, other than traffic, the border crossing was a cinch.

 There was this weird art right when you got into America. I think it was made out of metal. Fascinating!!!

One more parting shot of my other half! So thankful that we took this journey together. This was the longest sister trip we have ever been able to take. We are already making plans to go on another one to visit far away friends. It cost so much less when you have someone you can lodge with and can take you around to see the sights! Traveling really can be affordable! Then you can spend your money on delicious food and experiences.

Thank you, Lord, for giving us this gift and for bringing us back home refreshed so that we can pour into our families.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My Trip to Canada! Part One

While I was in Mexico when some wonderful friends, I felt the Lord speaking to my heart about dreaming again. I have been very consumed with raising my family, being a good wife and mother and active in my church. But one thing I think I have lost is a discovering "me". I know that sounds a little self-centered, but I realized that I have one life to live. I have always been a very cautious person, taking as few risks as possible. I have anxiety when I feel out of control. That's why traveling is so hard for me. Getting on a plane and going some place unfamiliar was a HUGE step for me. I am so grateful for the patience of my traveling companions! The only way of overcoming this fear is to actually go and do something!

After traveling to Mexico and spending all that money on a passport, I thought what a waste to only use it once. My sister and I concocted a plan to go visit our mutual blog friend, Camille from "Flowers in His Garden". Jackie from "Homestead Wannabees", contacted Camille and asked if we could come up to Canada and visit! She was thrilled and said yes. The next thing we know our other mutual blog friend, Jenn from "Wanting What I Have" said she could fly in from Georgia!!! Our hearts were amazed at what God was doing! We started saving every penny of our mad money and made this trip a reality this August. It still feels like a dream, that I, scaredy-cat, Stacie travelled to two countries in one year!

Here are some memories of our amazing trip! Let's see if I can beat my other blog friends! LOL! I guarantee you their pictures will be better. They are gifted photographers while I am not.

We stopped at the Aplets and Cotlets factory in Cashmere, Washington. Didn't get a tour because of a bus tour that was going on. 

 I LOVE these candies! This is what my step mom always gets me for Christmas!

 Jackie and I found genuine Turkish Delights! Can't wait to try them. The lady in the background looked really tired and grumpy!

 We drove to Canada in one straight shot. Took us about 8 hours total. Here we are at the Peace Arch Park waiting in line to get through the Border. We were so nervous that it would be a pain to get across. They aren't kidding, it is the "friendliest border in the world". They barely ask questions and didn't inspect a thing. Kind of scary to see how easy it would be for bad guys to get something through.

Almost to the Canadian Border! At least they had beautiful gardens to look at while were were waiting in line.

Camille's house was just a few minutes away from the Canadian Border so it was pretty easy to get too. We both didn't feel like upgrading our cell phone plans so we had no GPS or cell service. It was good for us!

Here we are all together. from left to right: Me, Jackie, Jenn and Camille in front of Camille's lovely house! We were all so excited to meet one another! It was crazy to be seeing each other face to face and hear one another's accents. Jenn with her southern accent, Camille with her Canadian, and apparently we had accents to them! Jenn and I kept looking at each other and saying, "I can't believe this is happening!" We all started blogging around the same time which was in 2008 I believe. We have followed each other's lives via blog. We have all had many ups and downs in these past years and have loved, supported, and prayed for each other and their families.

 That evening after a delicious dinner, Camille took us to the waterfront as the sun was setting. It was such a gorgeous evening.

 Here is a view of the pier lit up in Surrey, Canada. 

 Loved this Bible verse etched into the pier. John 6:37. The sky just glowed that evening!

 Couldn't resist getting a picture of Camille, Jenn and Jackie "catching up" on each other's lives. I don't think we stopped talking for two and a half days! We had so many questions and so many gaps to fill in since we don't share everything on the Internet.

Camille treated us to Gellato (sp? my spell checker decided to quit working). I had never had it! The flavor I chose was Baklava. It was amazing! 

The next day we took a trip into the big city of Vancouver, B.C. City life is NOT my idea of a good time, but Camille showed us many beautiful sights that were special to her and by the end of the tour I could truly appreciate the beauty of this large city. 

 I couldn't help but notice Canadians refer to their bathrooms as WASHROOMS. Interesting.  A much more genteel way of saying it.
 The Olympic Torch in Vancouver, B.C.. It wasn't lit up but I bet it would be beautiful at night when it is.

 Jackie and I have never seen a large cruise ship up close before and it was fun doing some people watching while Camille and Jenn went on a virtual tour of Canada. Both Jackie and I get motion sickness, so it wasn't for us.

A view from Canada Place in Vancouver. 

I will post more pics later, but this is a good start!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Catch Up Post! (Sort of)

I am getting so far behind on updating my blog, I don't know if I can truly catch up. I used to post everything we did as a family as sort of a family record. But right now life is all about my kids and all their activities. The kids are 17, 15, 13, 11, 9, and 7 right now. You can only imagine how busy life is! But here is a shot at it...

 We were invited to go fishing and a BBQ with our church family up at Camp Baldwin. As you can see it was beautiful! The lake had been just stocked with trout so the little kids were catching them like crazy! Lily caught her first fish, then another and another. Here is Pastor Tim seeing if Lily wanted to touch her fish. Uhhh, it wasn't happening! She is just like her mama. I so hated touching fish that I would fish without bait because no one ever wanted to take it off the hook for me when I was a kid! I know, I am kind of strange. Tee hee!

 My dad just bought a small babysitter horse named Lancer. Lily was so excited to ride a big horse by herself for the first time! As you can see, it was an unexpected ride and she was really equipped for it. Just a few laps around the corral this time!

 Jessica loves doing Lily's hair. I thought it looked so pretty this day!

 Right out of the gate, this summer got busy FAST! Jessica was invited to do a summer basketball league. It was quite challenging as it was basically our eight graders and freshmen against several varsity and JV teams. We didn't win a game but we were challenged and these girls learned a lot. It was fun to watch even though it was kind of scary watching them go against such aggresive players. They sure weren't afraid though!

 Here Jessica is the point guard setting up the play.

 We took Steve out for Mexican food on Father's Day. I couldn't manage to get my whole brood in the photo, but we are all there!

We were invited to a friend's birthday party early this summer. You know you live in a small town when you can't find a tree to hang a pinata from and your grandpa goes and gets his backhoe to hang it from. I LOVED this! So something my family would do!

 My flower beds are completely full now. This was the beginning of summer. My hollyhocks are beautiful and I love how they are growing out of my rock wall! The sunflowers went crazy this year too!

Gets pretty hot on our backdeck so we bought this little pool from our tiny hardware store. The girls and I enjoy sitting around soaking our feet in it. It gets so hot here! 

 Squeezed in another visit to my sister's! Here I am with Little Rina, my precious niece. She thinks I am her mom half the time.

 Rina and Jessica playing in the splash park in the town my sister lives in. She looked so cute in her tutu swimsuit!

 Rina enjoying her cake! Grandma Kricket in the background at Jackie's little homestead.

 Rina came to visit us for about 9 days this summer. I watched her while Jackie went to visit her husband Michael in Virginia. He was at a training school for the military for about 2 and a half months. It was hard having a little one again and made me appreciate the freedom that I have with my older children. But I wouldn't have traded this time with Rina for anything. Here she is bonding with her Uncle Steve!

I love this saying that my friend, Leona, has in her office. It says it all! 

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