Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mountain Tops and Valleys…Holding Onto Faith

The kids recently had a fall break from school so Adam took a few days off to enjoy it with them.   One morning we chose to go climb Pinnacle Mountain.  This was a first for our family, with us all climbing together and without using any backpacks to carry the kids, though I think that may have been a mistake since Adam ended up carrying Ava Jane the entire way up and pretty much all the way down the mountain.   I don't think this activity will become a regular occurrence for us anytime soon, but we are getting there.

The morning was bright and clear, cool but comfortable…really, it was perfect fall day.  And to be honest, the kids actually did awesome.   Emerson climbed to the very top with nary a complaint which was fan-tab-u-lous.  It had been years since I climbed Pinnacle and I'd forgotten how steep it gets around the 8th and 9th markers.  There's a few spots where two hands are necessary for moving forward and up, which I'm sure you can imagine how challenging that would be while carrying a 32 pound little girl on your shoulders and/or on your hip, poor Adam!  But we had fun and we made it, which felt like a win all around!
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The boys enjoyed running at the beginning.  We tried to talk to them about walking and looking at exact spots for where to place their little feet, instead of jumping from rock to rock.  They did fairly well at obeying those requests.
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And Lawson likes to take any and every opportunity to climb a tree, so climb he did!
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The trail was really beautiful, the views and getting to see all the leaves beginning to change colors was really spectacular.  The boys were pretty amazed with the scene!

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Along the way we stopped for some rest and water breaks.
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Emerson, who has been into pictures recently, asked me to take several of him along our hike.
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The view from the top was really beautiful!  The boys were amazed at how tall the mountain was and I was reminded of how big my God is.  I'm so thankful that He holds the whole world in His hands, because today, when a sweet friends little girl has been put on the ECMO (heart/lung machine), a precious woman (a friend of my mothers) died unexpectedly this morning of a severe brain aneurysm  and another dear friend lost her Dad unexpectedly just minutes ago, I'm left in tears.  I'm thankful that I know that God is sovereign and that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.  But seriously, I struggle sometimes with how difficult and hard life is.  Thankfully, my God is big enough to handle my doubts, questions and fears.  I'm so thankful that though my finite mind can't comprehend the "how's" and "why's" of his purposes, I can trust His character.  The fact that He loves me immeasurably is such a comfort and He loves these sweet people and their families (who are affected and enduring these difficult, life altering situations).   As I was reading today about trusting God, this quote stood out to me, "God is too wise to be mistaken, God is too good to be unkind, so when we don't understand, when we can't see His plan, when we can't trace His hand, we must trust His heart." John 3:16 says, "For God so LOVED the world that he GAVE His only son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but will have EVERLASTING life!  I love this verse with strong, descriptive words of who God is…"Oh Lord you are great, mighty, majestic, magnificent, glorious and sovereign over all the Earth and sky.  You have dominion and exalt Yourself as the Ruler of all." (I Chronicles 29:11)  I'm so grateful that He is who He says He is!  
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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pumpkin Patch with the Family

Recently we did the pumpkin patch as a family.   I'm completely bummed, I've been trying to shoot more in manual mode instead of automatic and several of my group shots were over exposed but here's a few from our time together.

The morning we went to the pumpkin patch was fairly mild weather, but it turned warm toward the end.   The big boys were excited to get some pumpkins that they could carve, they've been begging me to do this, so we obliged.  We went back out to Bo Brook Farms and the kids had a great time.  They enjoyed the tube slide, seeing the farm animals, running through the field of pumpkins, playing in the hay maze and riding on the trailer behind the tractor.
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Pumpkins!!!


Our very responsible son went and got a wheel barrow for us to haul our pumpkin loot back to the car.
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Gourds

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We enjoyed our hayride, though Ava Jane didn't want to look at the camera in any of these pictures.
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We ran into some dear friends and their kids which was super fun!  Nicole, I was so glad to have gotten to see your face and hug your neck, can't wait for you to be back here in Little Rock!!   
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I realize that I'm on a short time frame as far as my older boys still wanting to go to the pumpkin patch, but for now, they still get great pleasure from the festive fall fun, so I'll take it while I can get it!  I do, so much enjoy, our trips to the farm fields outside of Little Rock.  The boys are always thrilled to see the John Deere tractors, to wear their cowboy boots and to search out their perfect pumpkin.  Here are our trips from 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011
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And just so that you see what happens behind the pictures (and so that I remember, when I read back through this here blog months and years from now) there were harry, ugly moments too…here's a picture of Ava Jane having a knock down, drag out, reaction to having to leave the slide and head to the car.  Every moment is not all pretty and magical, its just real life.  Gotta take the good with the bad.
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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Engagement Party Turned Wedding!

This weekend, my brother-in-law and his fiancĂ© had an engagement party with dancing, dining, lots of fun and a BIG surprise, they got married!  It was a perfect fall evening with a fantastic view of Pinnacle Mountain from the Griffith's beautiful home.

Adam was part of the ceremony so he, John and Sidney all snuck back into the house (unnoticed) after greeting the guests.  They all did their "costume change", Adam did a switch-a-roo, from his navy suit  to his tux.
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As all the guests kept visiting and catching up with people around them, the hosts of the party welcomed everyone and said a little word to the guests then said something like, "well, we all know what this tune usually means"...Pachelbel's Canon in D began playing... and the ceremony began.  The men exited the house and then lovely Miss Sidney made her beautiful appearance escorted by her father.  Guests stood on the steps overlooking the pool and Pinnacle as they began to realize "this isn't an engagement party, this is a wedding!"
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The ceremony was sweet and centered around what love really is according to I Corinthians 13.  It was a treat to be there and see them make their marriage covenant to one another and before God.  It was really touching to have all the parents go up and pray over the precious couple as they began their married life, what a sweet moment.
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The evening truly couldn't have been lovelier.  The food was good, the band was terrific and the dancing was so much fun!  Adam and I are excited for this sweet couple and wish God's richest blessings upon them.  Sidney, welcome to the family!  Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Head!!
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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bloom Playdate

Last Friday, my BLOOM group had a playdate. With fall approaching and the beauty of the weather, we decided to meet at Bo Brook Farms. When we arrived mid-morning, there were quite a few bus loads of kids, but as the morning wore on the crowd diminished and we had more room to roam. The kids had a great time!

While we waited for everyone to arrive Emerson decided to do some "posing"…he actually asks me to take his pictures these days, though sometimes he still has trouble looking at the camera. Ava Jane enjoyed climbing the hay mound and going down the culvert-tube slide.
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There was a small barn of animals that included goats, chickens and a baby cow. The kids enjoyed petting and observing the farm pets.
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The hay maze kept them running round and round and the corn pit had them "swimming" for quite a while. The kids had a blast. After the crowd subsided we lined up to take our hay ride, and that was a real highlight for Emerson and Ava Jane.
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This was as good a group picture we could get.
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After our ride we went to gather a few pumpkins from the patch.
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And these sweet girls, these double-named girls, who get to spend several days a week together (at Mother's Day Out and Bible Study) are such good friends! I love that they get to spend so much time together.
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It was a fun morning spent with little friends.  On our way out a few items caught my eyes.  I loved all their cute Arkansas artwork, how cute are these signs?  And all the odd shapes and colors of pumpkins was fun to see.  I really do love Fall, the changing colors of the leaves and look forward to the cooler days that are just around the corner.
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