Thursday, October 22, 2009

God's Heart for Us ...

On our trip, when we were hiking, our daughters automatically started looking for signs of God's heart in nature. This is a great treasure we learned from our friend Sharilyn at Heart Rock Life. We also saw a rock that all of us thought looked like Africa. Africa is near to our heart for several reasons right now ... our sweet Root friends are adopting from Ethiopia, Africa, and we are just too excited to be meeting their sweet babes and to be loving on them. Our sweet friend, Miss Kimberli is involved in ministry connecting kids in the US with kids in an orphanage in Ghana, Africa, called "The Village of Hope." There are over 200 kiddo's reaching out to be penpals. Our girls are sooooo excited to be two of them and to have new friends in the form of penpals ... God moves in such awesome ways. And, then there is Katie and Amazima. Katie, inadvertantly, became an inspiration, for our oldest daughter in particular, for doing hard things because God gives you strength. What God is accomplishing through Katie in Uganda, East Africa, is nothing short of miraculous. May He get all the praise. Oh, and can't forget to mention my precious Alece, who heads up Thrive Africa in Harrismith, South Africa. So, here is our rock of Africa ....

And, here are a few of God's hearts ....

The last one is a very cool mushroom ... God is good, all the time, and His heart is FOR His people. I love our Daddy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Transition Vacation ... Part Three

Here is part three of our trip ... this is the part of the trip where God opened our eyes and hearts to see what exactly He was doing, symbolically, in our lives. It was simply amazing and VERY exciting and just what we had been praying for ... to hear Him clearly. On 10/7, we went on this hike in the afternoon, after lunch ... to the Seven Hollows Hiking Trail. As you can see from the photograph, it was a 4 1/2 mile circle. Phew! We took the left fork (thank you, Jesus!) which was almost straight down into a canyon. It was rock cliffs on either side with a stream running down the middle. We were walking on the left side. (Just FYI, on the way out, it was not as steep going up as on the way in ... that was a great thing for this pregnant lady :) Our amazing God looking out for me! )

We were all following our fearless leader ... the head of our household. It is important to note that three times other hikers tried to get us to turn back because the clouds were threatening rain. As a family, we decided to move on and pray and believe that God would hold back the rain. It is exactly what He did. We were not going back to "Egypt," we were heading to the "Promised Land."

These flowers and two other varieties were all along the trail. I thought they were beautiful!

This is the Natural Bridge Cavern. We would have missed it if another couple hadn't pointed out how to find it. The light you see shining wasn't there in real life. I believe it is an angel that was watching over us as we hiked and the Lord allowed me to catch it on camera. So cool!

Streams that we saw all the way through. At one point, we crossed a stream to the right side of the canyon. I said, "Look, we've crossed over to the other side." Brian and I looked at each other and the light bulb went off at the same time. We were symbolically crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land. We are no longer in the desert! Praise God!

This is the grotto. I am 30 1/2 weeks pregnant in this photo. Baby girl is a-growing! :)

Peyton in the cave part of the grotto ...

Madison posing on a rock in the grotto ...

The girls by the grotto waterfall ... adorable! This was about 2 and 3/4 into our 4 1/2 mile hike!

Madison posing at the end mile marker ... it was quite a hike. We were happy to be able to rest and get some dinner after that! :) But, oh what an amazing and beautiful journey it was!

Next day, 10/8, we stayed in the mountains at the Queen Wilhemina resort. It was a God-thing that we got in because when we originally called several hours earlier, there were no rooms. On our second call, they had had one cancellation ... a room for four. God is so good! A huge storm was brewing and there was no tenting it that night. I asked God why He worked this out. He reminded me, it had been prophesied over me several years ago that I was Caleb and I would take the land. In Joshua 14, after 45 years (wandering 40 in the desert and fighting 5 in the Promised Land), Caleb recieved his mountain ... his part of the Promised Land ... from Joshua. I turned 45 years old on 10/8, the very night we stayed in the mountain!

These are two photo's we took before the storm moved in. The entire resort was enveloped in a cloud during the storm. It was too cool! Don't you love how the sun was shining through the clouds. The SON is always shining through our storms. He says, "I will never leave you or forsake you!" Amen!

Next day, on our way home, we stopped in a senic turnaround to watch the clouds, still in the mountain. As we stood there, a cloud blew toward us and, ultimately, enveloped us in white. It all happened within a matter of a minute. It was the most awesome thing! The wind was blowing inside the cloud and the temperature dropped about ten degrees. Loved it! So thankful for camera's to capture the moment.

On the rest of the drive home, it rained and was clear alternately. On several of the side roads, we would pass these amazing little streams. I was fascinated by them and God reminded me of a verse He gave me several years ago about our family ... Isaiah 43:18-19 "The Lord says, 'Forget what happened before and do not think about the past. Look, at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening, don't you see it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land." (NCV). The NIV says "streams in the desert." This picture reminded me about the streams. Our God is so faithful!

Our vacation during the Feast of the Tabernacle culminated on the last day (10/10) with praise and worship at church. The sermon was about giving everything to God ... everything ... we had a "miracle offering" and God really spoke to our hearts. As a family, after returning home, we burned pages where we had written curses that had been spoken over us for generations (symbolically breaking them) and prayed for the "new things" ... the mighty things God is working on our behalf to begin to manifest on earth. We took communion together as a family. It was an awesome end to a celebration of harvest, provision and God's faithfulness.

Like I said, it was an awe-filled, awesome trip!

Transition Vacation ... Part Two

More vacation ... this was the giant cave that we walked in. There were actually cave pictures if you looked really close. Also, if you look really close, you can see the girls and I standing behind that big rock ... yep, it was a big cave!

This was a beautiful stream on a part of the hiking on Day #1. Mom skipped this one because it was all downhill (not bad), but it was also straight uphill (1 and 1/2 miles) on the way back. Mmmm, no thank you! A little too pregnant for that one!

Well, what else are you supposed to do with mud? Making mudpies ....

Daddy managed to work up enough fire to ...

... roast marshmellows ... yum!

Next day (10/7), we set off to explore Bear Cave. No this is not it. This is one of the amazing rocks that were everywhere stacked precariously on themselves. Made one wonder why they didn't just topple over!

This photo cracked me up. The sign said "No climbing or repelling." Guess that didn't include hanging. :)

Another crazy looking mushroom ....

Brian climbed down onto a ledge to get a better look. Peyton wanted to, but it was a little too close for Mommy's comfort.

It was a little too close for Madison's comfort, too. Here she was clinging to the tree so she wouldn't slip forward.

Two sweet sisters hanging outside the "bear cave."

All of us in the midst of a deep crevace. Very cool!

The girls on top of the crevace ... aren't they just too precious!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Transition Vacation ... Part One

Ahhh, vacation! We were blessed by the Lord with the means to take a family vacation. It's really our first one (and probably last one) with just the four of us ... as we will soon be five! We went camping at Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas. We went during the "Feast of the Tabernacle" and camped in a tent. It was great fun and the Lord blessed us tremendously. Here are some of the highlights ...

LOVE pumpkins ... they are the beginning of Harvest.

What we did most of the first day ... read, rest, relax ... due to the rain.

The rain slowed to a "spit," so we ventured out. Yeah God! The girls are standing on what is called "turtle rock" because the formations look like turtle backs. Pretty cool!

Madison looking sweet!

Peyton pondering our next adventure ...

Got to love the brilliance of leaves changing colors. God has such a glorious imagination!

Oh, and the rain brought out all kinds of different and interesting varieties of mushrooms.

Beautiful area we were hiking in ...

Waterfall from one side of the mountain ...

Same waterfall from the other side ... didn't look that far down from where we were before.

Standing in a crevace ...

Sisterly love!

Sun trying to peak through. This was the view from dinner. Breathtaking to watch the clouds move back and forth over this valley and these mountains.

Our tent covered with a tarp to keep out the wet after the first night's rain. It worked, by the way.