Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer Time.....

It is so hard to believe that summer is almost over. I know for some of you, there are still a few more weeks to go but here in Mississippi we will be starting school two weeks from today. When I was a child, summer seemed to last forever.

There were unending days of Barbies, followed by more Barbies and then we played Barbies.

If I was honest I would tell you I was doing that at 12 and 13!!

The weeks were hot and unending as we waited for Labor Day to come bring us our signal to start back back to school. Clearly that is not the case now as an adult.

So, I was thinking I would share a glimpse into our summer as we get ready to set out for school supplies soon. And of course I will do it through pictures because that is the best way to talk about things!

One of the things that happened early in the summer was Freshman Orientation with Brendan...

...and I snapped this picture, which has certainly raised eyebrows back home in Texas! I mentioned in my previous post how relieved and grateful I was when we met Brendan's roommate. At Orientation I also became grateful for whoever invented Clorox wipes because after I saw that dorm room I wanted to run to Sams and buy a case of wipes!! That might be best discussed in another post. He and Ellie had an awesome time seeing the campus and I know they are excited about starting their college years. (They move in Aug. 15 so prayers are once again appreciated!)

Kamdyn went home to Texas in mid-June and I snapped this picture when we met Kelly to pick her up...

...because you can tell these girls love their Kamdyn! She had a great visit with Gran and all the cousins and enjoyed her time in College Station before we made her come back home.

Then some of the cousins got together for a swim...

...and I had a flashback to the days my boys argued over who could swim the link of the pool the fastest or who had the best dive - or maybe it really happened all over again and I saw them as 7 and 8 instead of 17 and 18!

Before getting to Texas Koby went on a mission trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with our youth group. Koby loves mission trips and this year he was especially excited about going because he wanted this picture...

...standing proud in front of Rocky! Koby has loved the Rocky movies since he was a little boy and I really believe standing in front of that statue will forever be a life highlight for him. I was ready to see him after spending 10 days away from us, and I think Brendan was too. He is not used to being the only child after all!

Also while we were in Texas we ate at Stanley's, a BBQ place that is so good it can go by just one name! This was my sandwich and one rib.

What you can't see is a picture of Brian's sandwich named the Mother Clucker! It was amazing as was everything else we ate. So, if you are ever in Tyler stop at Stanley's. You won't be disappointed!

After we got back home, Kamdyn and I did something really wild and crazy...

...a 5K Color Run!! I had to convince her this would be great fun and I let her bring a friend to increase the fun! By the start of the second mile I was trying to convince myself running a 5K in July was truly fun!! We didn't run the whole thing, but we did finish the race and we weren't in last place so in my book I count that a positive experience. And all the color does make it a little more fun! I think we will do it again - in the fall!

Speaking of running, I use an App on my phone when I walk and/or run. I took a break from this while we were in Texas and this is what the handy App had to say about that...

Basically, I did do a few things in the middle of this but I didn't log onto my App. Clearly I was missed and it is good to know I have accountability!

Brian and I celebrated July 4th with Kamdyn and a friend of hers!

We also spent time together doing one of our favorite summer activities ....

.... canning pickles! I also shelled some peas which is something I enjoy. I feel like we could grow our own garden one day, but maybe we will just stick to the Farmers Market and Produce Stands because they don't require me to pick weeds!

Last week Kamdyn and I went to Cheer Camp...

...and this is my group of girls for the upcoming school year!They did a great job at camp and won first place in their division!! Cheer camp is always long days and little sleep at night, but I enjoy spending time with the girls and this group certainly kept me entertained!

SOOOO, that's our summer time in pictures with just a few weeks left to go. I love the slow pace of summer and I can already tell we are slowly shifting into the next gear. Kamdyn has her first soccer game next Friday and Koby started football practice this evening. Brendan is checking off his list for college and Brian is getting ready to start his new job. So time marches on and I hold on to these last few weeks of sweet summer time.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Praise the Lord....

Clearly I was in fact not back to blogging!

Sadly, it has taken almost two months for me to log back and on and write. The pace of summer has been friendly to our family and we have been able to enjoy slowing down a bit. There has been somewhat of a revolving door at our house over the last six weeks as the kids have been to camps and mission trips and visited family and friends and there are still more camps and trips to squeeze in before school starts. I feel like I could write 5 or 6 posts all in this one blog post but today I mostly wanted to write to offer praise to the Lord.

I have decided that when God answers your prayers it is the most humbling experience. As a child I might have confused prayer requests with a list for Santa, praying I needed my parents to give me that new pair of Guess jeans or I needed that 100 on the Chemistry test that I studied 5 minutes for. I think as I grew older I confused prayer requests with gossip, like most good Baptist tend to do. I'll pray for her because look at how her children behave or I'll pray for those people because what a mess of a marriage. However, in the last few years I have found a renewed sense of understanding when it comes to prayer.

It is no secret on the blog that I wore God's ear out on praying for Brendan a roommate! And Ellie, too for that matter. I just could imagine all sorts of strange and weird children that could possibly be paired up with either one of them and then how would college go? I mean, in my mind, I had thought of all kinds of scenarios!

So, God convicted me of worry and I began to lay that burden down and just pray, pray and pray. In June, we had dinner with Brendan's roommate and I can't even begin to tell you the sigh of relief I felt when I saw this very normal family waiting on us in the restaurant. As we talked with them I began to feel more comfortable and at peace with the whole college dorm experience. I remember driving home that night and literally feeling like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. And then it hit me....God answered my prayers.

I kind of wander if He thought "enough of Kristy Bailey! Take this roommate and move on sister!"

Kind of like what we do as parents when our kids just finally wear us down and we give in to that kitten because after ten thousand requests you just give out. And give in.

So, that was one prayer answered. But honestly, it didn't end there for me. For the last year and especially the last six months, Brian and I have been in limbo with his retirement from the military and what that would look like and how it would work. I began to pray God would just open doors for us and show us where He wanted us to be. We didn't know if we would stay here in Columbus, if a job would open up, if we would be able to afford to give the kids iPhones and cars and the things they have been accustomed to. Again I was convicted of worry, and I would daily and sometimes hourly lay down my worry and burden for our future at the foot of the cross. I prayed God would lead us, strengthen us and place us where He wanted us.

It was not easy!

Nobody works to keep people guessing like the military. Every week was a new turn and at times I wondered at the way the path was leading. Over and over again I would say to myself, "Trust in the Lord, Trust in the Lord."

Brian interviewed for a job in early June and by shortly after that they extended him an offer! But, the timing had to be just to right to take it. Paperwork on his behalf was scattered all over the country, literally, and people we will never meet were making decisions on his future in the military and in the civilian world. We began to ask people to pray for us and with us, that the timing would work out for him to retire and accept this new job. It would be something only God could do because the odds were not in our favor.

We finally got an answer on June 27, and slowly our future began to have clarity. At least for this upcoming school year, which seems to be how I measure everything.

And again, I stand amazed and humbled at the way God answers my prayers. Brian and I sat in a meeting just last week where the lady told us, "nobody thought this would happen" and "we don't know how this came through". I thought to myself, "lady I know because I am a child of the One True King" and great is His faithfulness to me.

So today, in the words of the Psalmist I say, "let everything that has breath praise the Lord." I have learned to praise Him in times of worry and in times where I doubted if He was really listening. I have learned to trust in a way that has grown my faith to a deeper level, and I am confident that "He who has began a good work will be faithful to complete it", even as that completion takes a long time or has the face of normal people.

I have much more to write about and I really hope to be more faithful to the blog. But for now, I wanted to take the opportunity to Praise the Lord for all He has done for us and to encourage you to cast your cares on Him because He cares for you.

"I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever." Psalm 145:1