Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall Festival


RTS had a fall festival last night! Its first ever Fall Festival!!
My friend, Jenni (a female student along with her husband Andy) pulled the whole event off - she is a natural party planner - she delegated it well into several committees all of whom are friends as well - and they did a fantastic job with RTS's first ever Fall Festival. The young married couples and single folks really served the families in allowing us to fully engage and enjoy our kids with the games and activities.
It was so much fun.

Walker - pilot; Lalla - ballerina; Wyatt - Spider Man


**on a funny note. Recently we were in the car and Walker mentioned super heroes. Wyatt came back with an interesting comment...this is how the conversation went down.

Wyatt: you know, there is one problem with super heroes
Walker: what?
Wyatt: they don't pay attention to their jobs.
Walker: huh?
Wyatt: Peter Parker is supposed to be working for Mr. Jameson and instead he's out goofing off defeating the bad guys.

the night of the Fall Festival, he did not mention anything about missing work, he was all about defeating the bad guys. :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Staying.


We found out some wonderful news this past week. With having found out recently that we will be having another baby in the Spring, knowing Wes graduates in May, etc we had begun praying about our future, specifically Wes' job in a church.

Our elders interviewed Wes last Monday night. They interviewed me as well. It was a unique experience in that I've never been included in a job interview for Wes in the past. They asked some really wonderful questions. My favorite was when they asked how I best saw myself supporting Wes in his role. I shared with them that my vision of supporting Wes was largely taking care of our home and our children. I elaborated on this a bit and they loved and affirmed me for this answer - which gave me great hope and assurance in our call to this wonderful church. They asked some other wonderful questions.

So later that night after Wes and I left - our elders voted and unanimously they voted in favor of hiring Wes for the position of Assistant Minister of Youth and Families. Our pastor, Tom and Associate Pastor, Dave came over to our house after the meeting that night (10:45) and excitedly offered Wes the position.

We are delighted to accept this position and consider it a humble privilege to remain with this church body we have grown to love deeply. We are so thankful for the Lord's gracious and gentle timing - that He has brought forth this blessing, early.

His position will begin June 1, 2012.

"He is before all things and in Him all things hold together." Col 1:17

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Adding On...




I just realized how long it has been.
We've been busy and I've not been feeling well.
That is due to the fact that we are going to be adding to our family.
We will have another Andrews baby in our home April 21(stsh)

We are delighted.
Shocked at the Lord's timing.
But thankful for His good and perfect ways.

We will find out the gender in early December.
For those of you who have had babies, you know the survival mode?
That's my way of living.
I am trying to do more than necessary but my energy is low and my tummy is sick.
So I know that there is grace for this season and there is good in the rest and the stillness that comes with abruptly moving at a slower pace.
I don't want to miss out on these gifts. I will miss them when I get my energy back and (hopefully) begin feeling better. I will miss the naps in the afternoon.

I have really experienced the depth of God's grace in tangible ways.
While I've not had much motivation to clean my house or clean up after a meal, I've had motivation to continue kindergarten at our same pace. I am so thankful for this. Wyatt and I are still really enjoying pretty much all things about homeschooling.

Wes is very busy with his midterm studies and papers. We are in the full swing of the Fall. We are so excited about the Tigers. They have been such fun to watch (except the first half last night). Walker really loves his preschool. Lalla is still crawling and sucking her thumb a lot - still not walking... but I'm in no hurry.

Overall we're well.
And tired.
And living by His grace.
And trying to rest.
ps - I know the pic is cheesy.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Birthday Babies

Lalla, 3 weeks; T, 1 week
Hard to believe these babies are 1 year old.



T and Lalla

Our mom hosted a family birthday party for these little ones - She was delighted to hold such a special event in her home and she prepared in such tangible and loving ways...
she made Lalla and T their own birthday placemat and
she sewed them each their own bib.


T and Lalla are hilarious together. They touch each other and test each other - taking toys from one another, pulling on one another, all the while staring.

I had the job of making the cakes. Which I was delighted to do.
A blue polka dot one for T-man

and a pink one for Lalla girl

all the grandparents came which I thought was really special.
To have Thomas' parents, my parents and Wes' parents all in the same room together. It was a picture of God's grace to me in many ways. The three couples had no idea when they married many years ago what the Lord would provide and allow...
Mom also made birthday hats for each birthday baby.


All the grandchildren were delighted to celebrate such a wonderful day - it was such a fun day. I loved each minute of it.
Dad and Mom even had special drinks for Kayne and I. She and I both love glass-bottled Mexican coke. And they had tub of ice with many of these chilling in the middle.
Such a special day.
Thank you mom and dad for your love for Kayne and I - you love us so well. Thank you to the grandparents who travelled to be with these children on such a special day.
We love you deeply.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31

Homeschooling

We have 14 successful kindergarten days behind us.
Homeschooling for me has been different that I expected or suspected.
Both in regards to Wyatt and me.
He has responded differently.
And I have too.
All of that to say, I am really enjoying it.
And Wyatt really is, too.

Our first unit was on the sun.
Wyatt (and Walker) painted suns, made sun badges, learned a lot about the letter "S", did a blind-fold experiment from a wonderful curriculum called "My Father's World" - it came highly recommended by my Clemson friends and I am so thankful they shared their love for it with me. I am absolutely loving it. LOVING it!

We made a sun dial...
did you know that the shadow of the stick/pencil matches the time of day it is? (i didn't!)
the boys and I came outside each hour between 10 and 2 and traced the lines of the shadow and saw how it matched the time on the clock. Amazing.

Then. we made raisins!
from grapes. The grapes have been drying for 5 days and are just now beginning to be crinkley and brown. I overheard Wyatt tell a friend today:
"Did you know that just like a caterpillar turns into a butterfly a grape can turn into a raisin?"

So we're doing this fun curriculum - Wyatt and I are in a new place in our relationship - he truly loves learning and enjoys me teaching him. We did not get that much this summer (time for me to stop and give him some time to teach him something) and our relationship was distant. This has been a neat answer to my feeling so distant from him over the summer. He told his daddy that his favorite subject is Math. That was a shocker! I love our Math, too - also highly recommended from my Clemson friends - Math U See Primer. It has blocks that they count with and Walker truly covets the blocks. He can't wait for the day he gets to "play" with them.

Walker will be in preschool 3 days a week beginning next week but I've enjoyed his being a part of "kindergarten". He told someone the other day "I just help out with kindergarten". Wyatt told him one day
"Walker, you are the biggest preschooler I know.
You are doing kindergarten stuff." A few minutes later Walker said.
"Yeah, Wyatt. And did you know that I can kill bears now, too?"
Wyatt concluded the conversation by adding:
"Yeah. And did you know that I can kill a lion with my bare hands?"
I've enjoyed learning new things about Wyatt. Things I never knew about him. Like the way he learns. He is a rule follower. I taught him how to count the blocks on day 1 in Math - and he's not deviated from it since. I've enjoyed seeing Wyatt enjoy learning and being a good student. I've enjoyed Walker's eagerness to be a part of whatever Wyatt is learning/doing. I've loved Lalla being a part, too. Though that is the trickiest - she's been a part of some days. And it's actually gone well.

I know there will be hard days.
But I am so thankful for a very good beginning.

"All things are of Him and through Him and to Him.
To Him be glory forever.
Amen."
Romans 11:36

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One Year



What a difference 1 year can make.
We are thankful (me especially) to be here and not a year behind.
We have our daughter.
We have journeyed through another year of seminary.

I can't believe how much difference a year can make. I am thankful to have a one-year-old Lalla. She is sweet, smart, a good eater, loves her brothers, and they love her. She says "Da da, uh-oh, na na (mama) and duh! She's a wonderful sleeper.
We love our Lalla!

this is an excerpt from my journal (a year and 2 days ago - 8/8/10)

"I honestly thought I'd be in labor by now or even have a baby! Wes and I spent the entire night in the hospital only to be sent home. How disappointed I am. I mean really so. I don't even feel many non-painful contractions at the moment. Mom came all the way here, Mary came over - both of which lost a good bit's sleep. And here I sit - labor - LESS. I am so confused - having had many painful contractions work towards...nothing. Ugh. I feel foolish - unaware of what my body is doing and over anxious. Even more so, as if I've inconvenienced everyone! Lord, I'm asking boldly for You to bring labor - real labor - upon my body today! And that this baby would be delivered today!

The Lord brought Lalla into our lives 2 days later.
On her due date.
8/10/10

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Here We Are...


Life has been so busy. Its been a really fun summer and there have been lots of things for our family to do - which has been such a gift from the Lord. I thank God for that, too. Again and again. He has provided this unique season in the middle of Wes and my life together - for him to be full time seminary student and devote himself to his studies - and yet provides a summer where the demands of his 2 jobs don't hold him down all summer - we got to travel! With both of our families and it was truly a gift.

That being said, Wes is devoted to a 3 week intensive course - Greek 1. He has been doing well - I'm very proud of him for his hard work and devotion, though I miss him. Its given me time to visualize a little more what our homeschooling days will look like. We've done a little learning time and a lot of play time during the day.

I do look forward to the hope of routine once the fall months arrive - and am trying not to waste away this time of flexibility with my children.

The good news, and the best news is that while I've been neglecting things like this blog, and been busy with my family, I've begun really reading my bible (like I did in college). Where I have t.i.m.e. studying the word. And journaling. I had met with my prayer triad and we asked questions about our bible reading - I left convicted and really determined to change my bible intake. Wanting it better, deeper. So I set out to have 2 really good times like this during the week. Where I get about an hour of prayer, reading God's word, taking notes and journalling. I'm thankful for that. He has provided the time. And the benefit of studying His word.

I'm also happy to report that I'm memorized more of Ephesians (with my friend, Lia). We've completely Eph 4, Eph 5, Eph 6 and we've begun Eph 1. So we're up to having memorized 97 verses. This is an absolute huge accomplishment for me. I never thought I could do it - and I'm encouraged that the Lord has provided this old brain the valuable words of His truth. And they are hidden there and in my heart.

So while I've been gone completely from this world - The Lord has enriched me through His word and through His promises (though days are hard and challenges remain).
He is good.
And always will be.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The McInvilles



We had the treat of spending a weekend with a family we hold dear to our hearts.
We met them (Andy and Rita) a few years ago when Wes began youth ministry work at First Pres in Florence. They have remained faithful friends through the good, the bad and the ugly. They and their daughter, Caroline made the trip up to see us this past weekend!
Rita so lovely documented our time together- that her words for me just say it all.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Good and the Bad

playing in the creek (Wyatt)

pre-crawling (Lalla)

after a "Hungry Caterpillar" party at school (Walker)

I believe it was Job who said to his wife after the Lord sovereignly allowed things to be stripped away from his life, of great value (health, children, possessions) when she questioned her husband's faithfulness to the Lord despite His taking away things - it was Job who responded to her by saying...
"Shall we accept the good from the Lord, and not the bad?" (Job 2:10)


I write about the good. No problem.
I don't write about the bad. All that much.
Well as believers (and any person on earth for that matter) there is the good and there is the bad. As believers, we are being sanctified by the Lord with each and every step, crawl and movement we make towards the cross. And it hurts.
I don't like to write about the bad.
Namely, my own bad.
The truth is, I'd rather stay away, not write anything at all on my blog than to write about my bad. Why would anyone want to say "I didn't like the way I did life today."
I didn't like the way I loved my husband. I didn't like the way I parented, or spoke to my children. It's much easier to just not write anything than it is to post about what a terrible person I am. I work hard (and am pretty sure we all do) to uphold an image that is just simply, not true. We are fallen. We are sinful. And we never graduate from grace. (as Rev Dave Kulp put it this morning in his sermon).
We are reliant on God for our salvation.
And we are reliant on God for our sanctification.

Friend, I will tell you. I am sinner being humbled my sin, still. I will never escape that this side of heaven. And my soul longs for that place, heaven, where we will no longer sin, be sick, or sad. I long for the perfection that only being in the very presence of the Father and His Son, Jesus can bring. I strive each and every day for perfection on earth and am disappointed. I cannot be the perfect wife. And I cannot be the perfect mom. I do and will continue to fail. But it is not hopeless for me. Jesus is my hope but He is also my means by whom I humbly rely on.
"All things are of Him, through Him and to Him. To Him be the glory forever. Amen." Rom 11:36

I have thought about blogging several times, but when I'm reminded about the kind of morning I had with my children I quickly think to myself "I don't want to listen to me". I'd rather glean from the Word of God where my hope comes from or from others who are humble and striving for the cross each and every day.

This morning in church we sang these words:

"I take, O cross, the shadow for my abiding place
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face
Content to let the world go by to know no gain nor loss
My sinful self my only shame, my glory, all the cross."

Upon finishing these sweet words, Wyatt leaned into to my ear and whispered,
"Mommy, that song makes me cry tears.
Happy tears."

We never graduate from grace.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lately...


we've been busy!
My three little monkeys are keeping me very, very, very busy. In a nutshell since summer began (memorial day weekend) we dropped our little ones at my parents house and took off to Black Mountain for our 10th annual Clemson college friends reunion. This year there were 9 couples that came (sans children - which would have been around 37 kids). It was a very fun and encouraging time for Wes and I. We love our college friends so much. They are all believers and they are all funny. Truly, truly great.
We were home 1 day and then took off to the beach with some dear friends from Florence - the Severance family. Our children played very well together and the parents laughed and encouraged one another. It was a lot of work as family vacations are, but very very fun - the dad took the older kids crabbing one morning and they came back with crab and flounder, which of course we cooked and ate. We went on bike rides, played games, and talked, and laughed.
We were home a few days then took off to Florence for a long weekend (sans kids) to love on Melissa and Tyler for their wedding. Wes and I got to stay with the Marchettes our on their farm with our dear friends, the Finleys (long time friends from Clemson). Such a treat to spend time with so many dear people that weekend. We worked our tails off and had a wonderful time! Wes also helped officiate the ceremony and I was very proud of my man. I was so encouraged hearing him share the Word of God.
We drove back late Saturday night and were home one day before VBS at our church began.
I was able to be a really fun role this year. I had a blast teaching songs, movements, bible verses and bible points to the kids. My own 2 boys were so fun learning the moves with me - Wyatt came up one day and helped me with one of the songs. Walker preferred to stay in the pew, which was completely fine. We all had a blast at VBS and were very encouraged, and very tired afterwards.
We were home for 2 days and Wes left us to lead a mission trip (in Charlotte). He and the youth are staying at our church each night and serving in various organizations and ministries each day. They have FULL schedule and my hubs was tired when I spoke with him but he is having a wonderful time serving together alongside of some awesome students and leaders. They began their first night making 800 sandwhiches. I am still wrapping my head around that.
The kids and I are here in Charlotte this week while Wes is "away" and we are leaving to go to Greenville tomorrow to celebrate my mom and her life. She is having a birthday this week and I feel honored to get to be with her on her special day. I love you, mom. Happy early Birthday!

So that is a bit of what has been up with us. It will slow down next week and I look forward to posting some catch up material. :)

Wink. Wink.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Walker's Question

Today at church, just after we finished our last worship song.
Our worship leader, Jeremy lead us in some responsive reading.
After the congregation responded for the last time, Jeremy began to pray for us...

Just as he was finishing going to the Lord, he said Amen.
In that little silence part before the next part of worship
Walker softly says...

"Mommy, do pirates pray?"

I love my 3 year old named Walker.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wes' Snake Tale


Because I think the world of my husband and really only for that reason am I going to share this story.
I am not by any means fond of snakes.
I don't even like to talk about them.

But
I have a very manly, masculine husband
and again, I think the world of him.
I think he is brave and I think he is an excellent decision maker when it comes to pressure and stressful situations.
He also has an adventurous heart, which I love.

That being said, his snake tale begins.
So Wes and a few other men took the Uptown church youth boys on a camping trip.
(For what its worth, I was with the youth girls at a hotel having our overnighter)
The boys were hanging out by the water at night doing boy things.
One guy, Patrick is playing with a frog. He spots a snake swimming closely by.
It is a brown water snake (not poisonous).
Wes, moves everyone back away from the water and (because he is who he is) chunks a large rock at the snake.
The rock hits the snake directly and chunks it under water.
A few seconds later the underside of the snake slowly rises to the water.
Dead.
Again, Wes makes sure all are standing back and (because he is who he is) pulls the dead snake out of the water (with a stick.)
Chops the head off.
Buries it (wasn't sure if it was poisonous at this point - it closely resembles a water moccasin)

And wouldn't you know it.
2 frog legs are sticking out of the throat.
Wes (of course) pulls the legs out.
A frog goes hopping off.
It was alive!
Looking more inside of the snake, another frog (alive) is pulled out and hops off.
This continues until a total of 4 alive frogs go hopping off.
Still. more.
There was a dead frog.
Then another one.
And THIS continues until a total of 5 dead frogs are pulled out.

So this snake had eaten 9 frogs before it swam near my husband and his life, would drastically end.

So what does one do at this point?
Well, if you're Wes Andrews you skin it.
So all of the boys skinned this pour snake.

Then what does one do?
Well they each took a section of its skin.
For their keepsake.

And then what?
Wes coiled it up.
Cooked it over a fire.

And they ate it.

A Caterpillar Tale

A few weeks ago, Wyatt caught a caterpillar.
He faithfully fed him fresh leaves each day.
And eventually he named him Walkey.

"Why Walkey?" I asked him one day
He thought it over and gave me a great answer:
"Because he has so many legs."

I thought each day about letting him go. But Wyatt was really treasuring taking care of something he fully had responsibility over. He sought out this creature for his bug kit - and now had the privilege to care for him.

Walkey remained in the bug kit, eating (as the jagged-edged leaves gave away) and seemingly...happy.
One day I asked Wyatt how Walkey was doing
"Oh. He's a cocoon."
Perplexed, I asked more about that when Wyatt brought his bug kit over to me and sure enough, that little creature had buried himself under a leaf and indeed, the beginnings of a cocoon was revealed. Bits of a cotton like substance was on top of the leaf and under it.

Well, we watched and watched. Each day I'd ask Wyatt how our little Walkey was doing.
"He's still a cocoon today."
We placed his little home near our dinner table so that we would not miss his big performance, metamorphosis, transformation!
2 weeks went by. I thought about googling several times to see how much time a cocoon needed.
This morning Wyatt was checking on Walkey and sure enough...

a brown little moth had stepped outside of the "cocooned-leaf".

We all sort of just watched him. He wasn't moving. Almost as if he was catching his breath before his journey continued.

Wes took the top of his container off and said that we should put him outside for when he takes his first flight.
Wyatt grinned and said.
"I'm going to change his name."
"To what?" Wes and I asked
"Flappey. That's his new name."

A few hours later I went outside to check on him.
Flappey was gone.

Friday, May 6, 2011

T and Lalla

A few weeks ago cousins T and Lalla were able to play together. They are sooooooo cute together. I must say.
It's been sweet to get them together at their growing stages. I believe this one so far has been the cutest.
Though I've thought that with each of their meetings :)
They were very curious about each other this time...





Sweet little cousins and friends.
Born 3 weeks apart to the day.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gentle Friend

For those of you who are close to me,
you know my relationship with Brighty has been
strained
since Wes and I have had children.
But.
As I have taken moments lately to watch this dog with my children.
I must say, he has been a faithful companion in our family.
When Wes and I have been frustrated with him, he has been patient.
He is gentle, in every way.
He lets our children tug, pull, squeeze and rid him.
He welcomes a petting.
I chuckle as I think back to when I was first pregnant with Wyatt and Wes and I read a book on boxers - and how they respond to their owners' babies...
"Boxers will admiringly look up at their owner with the new baby in arms."
That became a phrase I often remembered with each additional child we brought into our home.
Brighty truly is a guard dog. He acts instinctively to this end. In all circumstances.
With each baby we have brought home to our home.
I recall that his guard instincts "heighten" for a few weeks.
It truly is awesome and precious.
How did this furry animal become a part of the family?
I'm not quite sure. But nonetheless, he has.
As much as I've tried to fight his place here, he truly has been a loyal, faithful, kind companion to our household.
I apologize to all of my animal-loving friends. I mean no harm in any way, I am just not that much of a dog person. But I have come to a new place with Brighty.
And I'm thankful that he has remained a very good dog.
Truly. We could not have ever asked for a better animal.
Brighty was Wes' and I's first Christmas gift to one another.
9 years ago.
:)
video

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Walker's Special Day

I truly cannot believe that 3 years have gone by since our dear Walker Reeves Andrews was given to us by the Lord! He is a gift to us.
We are thankful that the Lord chose US to raise him.

He desired to dress up like a dragon at his birthday party. And invite his little friends to also dress up - so that's what we did...

we had a little party in the park/playground.
Wyatt, Lalla and the birthday boy

Our big 3 year old, Walker and his dragon cake
I got the recipe/design from this website

our friend Melissa was in town and helped me by loving on Lalla

Later that week, Anna Grace (whose birthday is close to Walker's) and her family as well as my mom and dad came for a special birthday dinner.

my mom gave Walker and Anna Grace birthday hats.
the birthday boy (3) and girl (7)
(funny note: I remember at Anna Grace's 4 year birthday party, I was "on the edge" of going into labor)
Cousins blowing out their candle in their birthday cupcake.

Happy Birthday, sweet boy! And happy birthday, dear Anna Grace. You are each a gift from the Lord. We count you as very special gifts that the Lord has given to us.
We love you!

**and our 2 sweet babies that were included of the birthday celebration.
Cousins T and Lalla