Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Birthday At The Brown's

On Saturday afternoon we were invited over to the Brown's for a little get-together to help celebrate Reagan's birthday.  One of the girls asked me while there how long we have known Reagan and Malinda.  It took me a minute to think it through and when I realized it's been over 20 years I almost gasped.  We're getting old!  ha  We first all met in a college and career Sunday School class before any of us were married.  Since then we've had a lot of fun years together!    

the crew- don't we look fun
We arrived mid-afternoon so the kids could have a lot of time to play outside and in the water.  Malinda had a lot of finger foods set out for us to munch on while we played. 

At one point we stopped for cake and ice cream.  We sang and then Reagan let Sara Madalin blow out his candles.

 Reagan's cake
Malinda also made homemade ice cream YUM! 

some of the kids eating 

 Jana and Ben
my boys "helping" Reagan open his present 

The kids had a lot of fun!  Here's Cruz riding Sara Madalin's 4 wheeler.

they also enjoyed playing in the sand 

the girls enjoyed playing in the lake 

Cruz and Garrett had a blast with the sprinkler!!! 

here they are getting me wet

and the adults loved doing this- chillin' out on the porch (when the kids would let us).
Later that evening Reagan grilled hot dogs and we ate again.  It was a fun time.  You won't find a kinder, nicer, more giving friend than Reagan Brown and I am glad we were home this year to help celebrate his day.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Our Weekend

Our weekend started with a Friday afternoon trip to the snowcone stand.  It's one of my favorite summertime treats and quickly becoming one of my boys too.  They don't understand the whole flavor thing they just choose by color.  I most always get strawberry.  In the past I always ordered a clear strawberry but now that I'm in the teaching colors stage of life I choose to let it be red.  My boys like to see our colored tongues too so that makes it fun.
a fun afternoon treat

On Friday afternoon one of our neighbors asked David to help her load something in her truck.  Then later on she returns with a sack full of crawfish and corn as a thank you.  What a wonderful surprise!  We love crawfish and have not had any yet this year.  It's been 8 years since we were last home to enjoy the crawfish season.  We were tickled to have them and they were DELICIOUS! 

We were up early on Saturday morning to begin a long day.  We took the boys to David's mama and then we drove on to Clinton, MS to speak at a retreat for the Mississippi Missionary Parents Fellowship.  This is a group of parents that have kids on the mission field serving with the IMB.  They have a retreat twice a year at Camp Garaywa and it's a wonderful time for them to get together for fellowship and to encourage each other.  Our parents have not been attending but I think they would really enjoy it if they got involved.  We got to meet some wonderful folks from all over our State and hear about the wonderful work their kids are doing all over the world.  We shared with them about our work and then David gave a short devotion.  It was a wonderful, wonderful morning!

a group photo
We all had lunch in the camp dining hall.  In addition to the missionary parents meeting there was also a retreat going on for the Mississippi retired missionaries.  We were able to meet and greet with them during lunch.  We saw a few familiar faces but two really stuck out for me.  The first was Mrs. Bobbye Rankin.  Oh, I just got soo excited when I saw her walk in.  Her husband, Dr. Jerry Rankin, is the former President of the International Mission Board.  It was good to see him too, but my focus was on her.  She's just beautiful and in my mind is the perfect image of a Southern lady.  She's a Mississippi gal and from the same town we are currently living in- Brookhaven.  I did get to hug her neck and talk a while but failed to get a picture with her.  I have been mad at myself ever since.  sigh.  The next person that got me all excited was Mr. Harold Watson.  As you might remember we see him a few times a year in Guatemala and Honduras when he comes down to work with his son- our agriculture partner Dan Watson.    He is a fun man and I could sit and listen to him share his missionary stories and wisdom all day long.   I left smiling big.

David and Mr. Harold Watson (retired IMB missionary to the Philippines)
After picking up our boys that afternoon we then headed to our friends house for a gathering/ birthday party.  It was for our friend Reagan.  I took quite a few pictures (as you can imagine) so I'll do a separate post about it tomorrow.  We had a fun time and the kids really enjoyed themselves.  Anytime these next two get together it's always a party, ha.

Cruz and Sara Madalin- trouble waiting to happen
Sunday morning we attended worship at First Baptist Church Summit, MS with David's dad and step-mom.  Afterwards we joined them for lunch at their home.  We had a delicious meal and then we sat out back a while and watched the kids play.  We always enjoy getting to spend some time with them.
David, Ben, Mr. Harold, and Cruz
On the way to their house for lunch Cruz excitedly told us all about what they had done in his class at church.  He said they had a parade (his explanation of them acting out Palm Sunday).  He waved his palm branch and talked about Jesus riding on the donkey.  I was impressed that he had listened enough to repeat the story back to us.  We'll be doing our best to finish that story with him this week as we lead up to Easter.

Cruz's Palm Sunday props he made at church- precious!  Don't you just love that rainbow donkey, HA.

After driving home and enjoying a long much needed nap we ended our weekend like we started it- with another trip to the snowcone stand. 

Ben asked for purple.

We also took them to the park to play.
We ended the day with supper at Ward's.  Have you tried their steak sandwiches?  Oh my, they are delicious!  Cruz likes the pink lemonade there so he was happy when we stopped.  It had been a very fun weekend.
It's Monday now and I'm busy cleaning and washing clothes.  I've already made my first (of many) trips to Wal-Mart this morning.  We have a festive week ahead and I've got lots to do to get ready.  We have a birthday and a holiday approaching and I've been known to go all out for those types of things (lol) but hey they only come around once a year, right. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sick Little Ben

Most of our week has been filled with taking care of a sick little Ben.  He started running fever on Monday night/ early Tuesday morning and up until early this morning was still running fever.  We took him to the doctor on Wednesday to get him checked out.  The best we could determine he has an ear infection and he is taking antibiotics.  He has not felt good all week and has been a terrible sleeper- both day and night.  We have had three LONG, sleepless nights with him.  He has been up from about 1:00 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. for the past three nights straight.   We're not spring chickens any longer and the lack of sleep is just brutal on these 'ol bodies, ha.   So far it's been a fever free day today.  We hope it continues through the night.   We have a busy weekend ahead and we'd love for him to be able to get out and enjoy it.  Would you pray for our sweet little Ben to be rid of this fever for good? 
Here are a few photos I took of him at the clinic. 
playing while we waited to get called back 

He is 34 inches tall and weighs 23 pounds 

look at that smile- he doesn't look very sick does he 

"say cheese, mommy" 

The clinic has several quotes placed on the walls in every room.  I love reading them.  This one says it all!!!

I love the look on his face here.  He sat very still and quiet while the doctor checked him out but he was not quite sure he liked it, HA.

From the best I can remember this was the first time he has had to see a doctor for being sick.  He's only had his well baby check-ups so far and he'll be two next week.  I'd say that is a huge blessing!!! I hope I never take for granted having fairly healthy kids. 

Another thing noteworthy about this visit was our visit with the nurse.  We were all at this clinic back in December to have the boys lead levels checked.   We first met her then and shared with her about living in Guatemala and what we do there.  She told us that she has been thinking about us lately and just the day before this visit was trying to remember our names so that she could contact us.  She was wanting to know about coming down to help us.  Well, imagine her surprise when she saw us in the clinic that day.  I love how God works those details out.  We were able to talk with her more about Guatemala, swap contact information,  and discuss the possiblilty of her coming down next summer and working with us a week.  That would be fun and so we'll see where it goes.

I saw this sign while checking out.  I love what it says and it's something I pray regularly for my boys.  I hope they never follow anyone else's dreams for them but follow the Lord's and His alone.  And whatever He calls them to do I pray they do it well.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Many Hats We Wear

On Tuesday of this week I had the privilege of attending the local WMU Spring Meeting/ Luncheon.  It was for the Lincoln Baptist Association churches.  The theme was "The Many Hats We Wear" so as you can guess we were all asked to wear hats.  I thought that was a fun idea but I didn't have a hat.  So, I did what anyone does when in a jam- I called someone who could help.  The first person that came to mind was my friend Malinda.  She loves hats!  Here is a blog post that she wrote about her  love of hats.  She has a good collection so I asked her to help me out.  She sent me a few pictures of some she has but mentioned that her favorite was a blue one and wanted me to wear it.  So blue it was.   I made plans to pick it up and went out to find a shirt to match it.  I think the outfit came together perfectly!
Me before I left for the meeting.  I felt so pretty and Southern, ha.
Mrs. Mollie Smith picked me up.  She is the wife of Bro. Talmadge Smith who is currently filling in as Interim Director of Missions for the Lincoln Association until they fill the position.  We knew Bro. Talmadge from years ago when we would get him to do his ventriloquism act at our church's summer children's camps.  We always enjoyed him doing that for us.  Anyway, we arrived early and I got to help them put the finishing touches on the decorations.  The meeting was held at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and I can't say enough about how nice their fellowship hall was.  It was just simply beautiful!  It was by far the prettiest one I have ever seen. 

getting the banquet tables ready
The program was held in the sanctuary.  A group of ladies from Pleasant Hill sang several songs and then we enjoyed the guest speaker- Ellen Champagne.  Pleasant Hill is Ellen's home church but she currently lives in Clinton, MS where her husband is a professor at Mississippi College.  She shared about femininity and the woman's role in the home, church, and community.  It was a wonderful message and spoke to my heart. 

the New Heart Singers from Pleasant Hill Baptist Church

After the program we went into the fellowship hall for our luncheon.
There were close to 130 ladies at the meeting.  That's a great crowd of ladies!!!

Our lunch was chicken salad (it was amazing), crackers, fresh fruit, cheeses, and of course sweet tea (a Southern classic).  We were all seated and served our plates.  It was fancy in a simple kind of way.  I just loved it!  For dessert we had an amazing bread pudding.  My oh my!  The meal was catered by one of the church members.  I'm wondering if she makes house calls, ha. 

I slipped around and tried to get a few photos of some of the ladies.  Many of these we have had the honor of meeting because we have been able to share in their churches.  I loved seeing several familiar faces and getting those warm hugs.

And my favorite picture of the day was with these two precious ladies- Mrs. Mollie Smith and Mrs. Edna Haley.    Mrs. Edna is the Associational WMU Director.  I have loved getting to work with these two and getting to know them.  David spends Monday mornings with Bro. Talmadge and the pastors so it's a treat when I get to be with the gals.  These are two fun ladies and their love for the Lord and missions is just contagious.   They work hard and go above and beyond their duties and I've loved getting to see them in action.  They bless my heart!

It was a great day, a great meeting, a great meal, and just an overall great time to celebrate being a Southern Baptist woman. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Overnight Trip to Covington, LA

After Cruz's ballgame on Saturday morning we headed out on a little overnight trip to Covington, LA.   We had plans to do a speaking engagement on Sunday morning.  I know I post a lot of pics of my boys sleeping in the car but if you ever saw them in person then you'd understand what a peaceful sight this is to me.   We always enjoy those few moments of being still and quiet when we travel. 
my tired boys

Once arriving in Covington our first stop was for coffee.  We googled the nearest Starbucks and got us a little "pick me up".  We were tired too but our boys had refueled on the way down and us getting any rest was out of the question. 
coffee- that's what keeps these tired 'ol parents going, ha

I've mentioned before how much our boys love staying at hotels.  They think it's the funnest thing.  The church put us up in a really nice room.  We all had a fun time there.

They also LOVE riding and playing on the luggage racks.
Later that afternoon (when our nerves couldn't take being trapped in the hotel with our two little rowdy ones any longer) we headed out to Chick-Fil-A for a snack.  We were hungry but the main reason we went there was because they have an indoor playland.  Their playlands are enclosed in a glass area separate from the restaurant.  We can put the boys inside and then sit at a nearby table and watch them but not necessarily hear them.  We sat, talked, ate, and just took a few moments to chill.  It was very nice!
Cruz snapped this picture of us enjoying our one-on-one time

We then headed to the Saturday evening service at First Baptist Church, Covingon.  When we worked with the Kekchi we had a partnership with this church and they sent down a few teams each year to help us.  Since moving to the Chorti area we have not hosted any teams and we've missed the fellowship with our friends from this church (and others).  We hope to one day be able to work with them again.  We loved sitting in on their service and being a part of the worship and Bible study.  It was great!

First Baptist Church, Covington, LA
For the first few months we were home Ben cried every single time we went to church.  He did not want us to leave him in the nursery.  That made it very hard on us to leave him.  He has since gotten over the hump and now joins his brother and they run into church together.  Cruz hops out of the car asking "where is my class?".  They love going to church and playing.  That is a blessing to us.

here they are running down the hall looking for their room

What a blessing church nurseries have been to us while in the States!  It frees us up to worship and share.

After the service we stopped by Johnny's Pizza House for a late supper.  YUM!

My boys love eating the Parmesan cheese at pizza places.  Ben would lick his hands and I would sprinkle some on for him to eat. 

It didn't take long before he was covered in cheese, ha.

my Saints waffle- isn't that cute!
We ate breakfast at the hotel on Sunday morning before checking out and heading to our next church visit.

Me and my boys eating breakfast on Sunday morning.  They looked thrilled, huh.
We then headed to New Zion Baptist Church, Covington.  Our former pastor, Bro. Clark Stewart, is now pastoring there.  We worked seven years on staff with him at Harmony Baptist in Crystal Springs, MS (our home church).   He and Mrs. Pam had a great part in mentoring us and pouring into our lives over the years.  We were happy to see they are doing well and their church is alive and growing.  We miss them and often think back to the days when we were all serving together.
Here we are this past Sunday.  Their oldest son Matt was there too and we loved getting to see him also.  David preached in both of their morning services and we both spoke during the Sunday School hour about Guatemala.  It was a great morning!  They had their "March for Missions" that morning for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.  That fund supports Southern Baptist missionaries who serve with the North American Mission Board here in the United States and Canada.  Even though we are foreign missionaries with the International Mission Board it was still good to be there and challenge the congregation to give.  Both organizations are doing a wonderful work and both need the support of our Baptist churches.

After lunch we drove back home to Brookhaven.  We had a little layover time at home before we headed out again to be a part of a commissioning service at Heucks Retreat Baptist Church outside of town.  That church has been independently going to Guatemala for the past 6 years working in the Chimaltenango area.  A group of 29 of them left again this past Monday on another trip there.  When they heard we were in town the pastor invited us to be a part of the commissioning service and let David give the charge to the team during that time.  It was good to meet them and learn a little about what they do on their trips.  Would you pray for them as they are there this week loving on those precious Guatemalan people?  I'll have to admit that I was a little jealous that they were all getting to go, ha. 

During the service their children's choir sang.  It completely blessed our hearts!  The song they sang was one of my favorites lately but hearing it come out of the mouths of children made it extra special.  I should have recorded them but I didn't think about it until it was too late.  They did an awesome job.  Here's a video of the song they sang.  What a joy for those kids to have this song in their hearts.

David, Ben, and Bro. Ken Parvin, the church pastor
We joined in on the ice cream fellowship before calling it a night.  It had been a busy weekend and our boys were reaching their limit.  We had been in four services in 24 hours (with David preaching in three of those).  We were tired but feeling very blessed.   Promoting missions is actually a lot of fun!!!
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