Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tennessee pictures.

A couple weeks ago, Dad and I flew back to Tennessee for a few days.  With a dream of someday possibly having a second home there, we looked at condos, houses and properties on a large lake that caught Dad's eye some time ago.  It was a neat learning experience for me, and we enjoyed our father/daughter time a lot!

I tried to take lots of I was told:

The wings had "no step" on them...

Upon arriving in Atlanta, GA, we stopped in for a visit with some old friends and met their new, adorable baby girl!!  It was a blessing spending time with them. :)  

Abigail quite enjoyed getting her picture taken

The next day, we drove up and into TN., taking a scenic highway for the last leg of the journey.

In a red Dodge Avenger.  I'm a happy girl.

The weather was less than ideal the whole time, making it difficult to get many pretty scenery shots, so that explains the lack of landscape pictures.  Plus, I was perpetually carsick for most of the trip, so I didn't do too much picture-taking from the front seat. :/

These are much more fun than curvy roads!

Obviously, I feel fine in this photo!

I love this car, even though it's not rated well in Consumer Reports (that piece of knowledge is from Delaney)

The best door knocker-thingy ever

This is it! ;) (well, it had a lake view anyway...)

*sigh* I ran into one of these...just shows how unacquainted I am with storm doors.

Fog over Watts Bar

On Sunday, we attended a NCFIC church in Knoxville with our new friends, the Juarez family.  They were friends-of-friends that we spent Saturday night with, and we quickly became good friends.  I look forward to seeing more of their family when our paths cross. :)

The largest potluck I've been to yet! many precious children...

Thank you, Juarez family, for showing us hospitality and for your friendship!

Okay, so you want to be extremely literal, eh?

I love gas stations in TN

College kid at an intersection in his awesome ride

I disagree: "For what have I to do with judging outsiders?  Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?  God judges those outside." -1 Corinthians 5:12-13

The famous courthouse where the Scope's Trial was held

So, we had a wonderful time (except that Dad had a miserable cold) and really loved the state, despite the gloomy weather.  The lakes and waterways are so magnificent, and that's the real draw for our family.  We have always dreamed of living somewhere on the water, and having a boat and adventuring in whole new territories.  We're excited for the opportunity that God is giving us and praying to make the right choices for the future.  Whatever the Lord wills!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to Your steadfast love;
according to Your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in Your sight,
so that You may be justified in Your words
and blameless in Your judgement.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being,
and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that You have broken rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Your presence,
and take not Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
and sinners will return to You.
Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare Your praise.
For You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
You will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Do good to Zion in Your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
then will You delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on Your altar.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top 10 best books I read {last} year (Part 2...finally)

It's here at last!  You all have probably lost all interest, and I don't blame you.  But I'm keeping my promise.  

Also, cheers for 2013!!!!!  It's going to be a great year, and I'm definitely smiling at the future!

And now, before you all just exit this screen in boredom...

The Girl of the Golden Gate by W. B. Meloney
This was an old book that I randomly bought at a used bookstore, assuming it would be about San Fransisco or something.  It was quite different than I expected though, and really, really good!  The plot was intricate and drawn-out, leaving me in extreme suspense and anticipation that it was very hard to put down.  Needless to say, I read it in a couple days, but I should go back and enjoy it again.  The story is about a sea captain who is shipwrecked upon a rapidly diminishing island (this was published in 1913) and eventually goes aboard a passing ship that has been victim to mutiny.  Along with his only companion, he manages to navigate the ship through storms and calm until they finally reach the Golden Gate

“The Daphne was in a trap.  Somewhere near her—somewhere in the southern quadrants of the compass between the east and the west—the center of a storm was bearing down on her.  Whether the barometer was lying or telling the truth was of little moment now.  Lavelle knew he could not be mistaken in the signs of a revolving storm.  He knew the meaning of the wolf-like noises and the wing creakings in the air; the oily, sooty, sight-killing blackness…”  ~The Girl of the Golden Gate

The White Gypsy by Annette Lyster
I had borrowed this from a friend years ago, and although I forgot the story, I never forgot that I would someday have my own copy.  So, when I received it in the mail recently, I was really excited to read it again.  Of course, it was excellent!  It is filled with suspense, spiritual truths and surprising plots that will make it very hard to put down!  True identity and justice prevail in the end, as all good stories should, but overall this book is a challenging and captivating read that will definitely please readers of all ages.

“There is a story about this child,” said Mrs. Killian; “of that I am certain.  He is no gypsy; he is not even a common child.  When he is better we shall find out all about him, I hope…”  ~The White Gypsy

It’s (Not That) Complicated by Anna Sophia & Elizabeth Botkin
I’ve read a lot of books on this subject in the past, but this was given to me as a gift, so I read it (and enjoyed it!).  Basically, the whole book is about how “uncomplicated” boy-girl friendships are.  It answers questions such as “how friendly is too friendly?”, “what does it mean to be a ‘sister in all purity?’” and so on.  It has never been more complicated to be a casual friend to a guy than in the 21st century.  But this book provides humor, hope and practical advice about boys.  It also has opinions from guys, which I found attention-grabbing.  So, I considered this a 258-page good reminder of things I already had an idea of.  It’s a very good book and I highly recommend it for young ladies of all ages.

“The course of ‘just friends’ never did run smooth—at least—not without careful navigation.  One thing that makes friendships tricky to keep a handle on is that they tend to progress, and with boy-girl relationships, they can progress in many directions—some good, some bad, and some ugly.  They aren’t always as platonic as they seem…”  ~It’s (Not That) Complicated

Glaucia, the Greek Slave by Emma Leslie
Being an avid reader of historical fiction and books written about Biblical happenings, I dove into this book eagerly!  The title speaks for itself, but it has a surprising beginning that really sucked me in.  A friend who borrowed it from me also agreed that it was very good, so I'm not the only one with an opinion!  The era of Roman Greece set the stage for this wonderful piece of literature, and the simple purity of the text is easy to comprehend.  I recommend this for ages 8 and up.

" 'I shall not forget the name,' said Laon, as he turned away.  He could not help feeling disappointed at the abrupt termination of this new friendship, but the girl had insulted the gods, and how could he be friendly with one who spoke slightingly of Pallas Athene?" ~Glaucia, the Greek Slave

Heartbridge by Johnny Miller
What a sweet book this was!  The story begins with the calling of the family who went to Romania to become the directors the the Nathaniel Christian Orphanage, and then each chapter is full of stories about the precious children they took in during their first year at the orphanage.  The stories are touching, humorous, thought-provoking and delightfully entertaining.  I'm deeply grateful for those who dedicate their lives to caring for children who are neglected, so this touched my heart in a special way.  I would love to do a similar mission someday, so this book certainly inspired me! 

" 'It has been such a blessing to see what you are doing for these children,' the spokesman said.  'God bless you in this work, and we hope you stay here a long time with these children.' 'God be with you as you go,' I said.  'And remember to pray for us, because this isn't our work.  It's the Lord's.'" ~Heartbridge

Happy New Year!!!

A new year has come.

On the 31st, we attended the 8th annual New Year's Eve party at our friends the Shaw's house.  With the house full of friends and laughter, falling asleep was out of the question for anyone over the age of 10.  But as the night wore on, many of the littles found comfortable places to take naps...

Jed and Rosco

The activities of the night included: three Bible quizzes (Macy won the big one!), a great slideshow put together by Chase, and a time of prayer before the countdown to the new year...

Science experiments with Mr. Shaw

Discarded footwear

Bible and prayer time



It was a great night.  Our family stayed until 3:30 a.m..  Then we went home and crashed into our beds.  I woke up the next morning feeling well rested--after all, the clock read 10:20 a.m.!

That afternoon of 1-1-13, we headed back over to the Shaw's and had some more fun with them and the Petersens (and Jeremy).  Because that's what friends do...come over and hang out, stand in circles saying nothing and wishing we could all take naps, play knockout, have more mochas, etc.  Mr. Shaw had some more activities for us, including walking on eggs and learning about air pressure.  Thanks to Justus, Elley and Delaney for demonstrating the latter and climbing into {clean} garbage bags, and thank you Brad Petersen, for doing a handstand on a bunch of eggs and not breaking them.

We stayed late.  Again.  Like I said, what are friends for??  It was a blast.  

For now, I have more posts to work on.  Happy new year, folks!!!  God bless y'all!!!!!!!!

-All photos, save the first, were taken by Justus Shaw-

The Piano song

This is the video that was accidentally deleted from my blog a couple months ago.  Voila, here it is!!  (Sorry, Delaney!)