Our Journey Home

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday funny: Picture time!

I love to take pictures, capturing every day moments to special memories. I think the girls have picked up on my little 'habit'. The other day, we were walking out to the car to leave for Wednesday discipleship at our church when Wubs shrieked, "Mama! Look at JJ!" I walked around the car to peek at JJ, who was waiting patiently to be put into his carseat. "What is it, baby?" I was scanning JJ, but I couldn't see why Wubs had requested I come look at her brother.
"Look at his hands! He has his hands in. his. pockets! Isn't he just so cute? You have to take a picture, Mama!!"

Wubs was right. He did look adorable. And, I did go back inside to grab the camera so that she'd know that I value her eye for a Kodak moment! wink!
"You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surraound me with songs of deliverance."- Psalm 32:7

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pregnancy update: a change in perspective

A little over three years ago, we lost a baby. It was my first miscarriage, and I was heartbroken. However, the Lord gave us such a peace during that time. David and I were blessed beyond words by our friends and family who lifted us up in prayer, and ministered to us. I'll never forget the first time that the Lord allowed me to comfort a friend who had just suffered a miscarriage. God invited me to join Him where He was at work, healing this sweet woman. I had the opportunity to pray with her, cry with her, and empathize with her. I believe that God let me encourage her because I had experienced the same pain myself. I thanked God for His plan. His ways are perfect.

Then, when we got pregnant with JJ, while I was very excited, I was scared. What if we lose this baby too? I confess, I struggled to take my thoughts captive during those first few weeks of pregnancy. Had I already forgotten the Lord's faithfulness? Didn't I trust Him to always do what was best for me, for His glory? David spoke Truth and prayed with me so much during our pregnancy. And, when our big boy came into this world at a whopping 10 pounds 7 ounces, wow- we rejoiced!

Today, I am seven weeks pregnant. My perspective on pregnancy sickness has changed a lot from our first child until now! wink. I cannot complain, I feel wonderfully yucky! I praise God for the symptoms reflecting the healthy development of the little life He has placed in my womb. We are so very blessed!
Playing outside with JJ's vehicles.


"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."- 1 Peter 5:10

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Vroom! Vroom!

"All believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had."- Acts 4:32

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday funny: Math giggles

Emma Grace loves to learn. She is a good student, and for the most part, she has a happy heart even when we're learning something new or challenging. However, Wubs had a little frustration earlier this week during our math lesson. She was working on finding number patterns and completing the blanks, such as 65, 75, 85, 95, ____, ____, ____.  I could tell she was stumped, so I asked, "Wubs, what is the pattern?"
"I know the pattern, mama. It's plus ten more."
"That's right! So what is 95 plus ten more?"
Wubs let out a big sigh. "I don't know! I can't figure it out!"
"Well if you aren't sure, you could  try counting on your fingers."
Wubs started laughing hysterically at my suggestion. I didn't get it, but I started to giggle too, because she was so overcome with laughter. Finally, between giggles, I asked, "What is so funny?"
"You! You are so funny, mommy! I don't have 100 fingers!!"

Note to self: Next week, we'll be doing more practice with number patterns. wink.
Rainbow slushies for an afternoon treat!
"In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation."- Psalm 5:3

Thursday, October 3, 2013

the cutest criminal

Someone colored on the wall, right beside his big boy bed.
Someone who is very cute, looked very guilty when he awoke from his nap.
Someone had to spend several minutes scrubbing the wall. His mommy did assist him after he made his best effort. wink!
Someone apologized, and he was forgiven. (There were lots of kisses for the criminal with the repentance heart!)
Exhibit A- evidence of the cutest criminal's crime.
Exhibit B- his 'guilty' face... wink!

Verdict- Guilty as charged. Scrub a dub dub!
"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful."- Colossians 4:2

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Sisters and best of friends

"He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy."- Titus 3: 5a

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Joy begins in thanksgiving

While David and I were away together in the mountains, we enjoyed catching up on our reading. It was wonderful to sit by my handsome husband, listening to the rustle of the wind outside, feeling the warmth of the fire, and learning from our books. I even finished one of my all time favorite books, One Thousand Gifts! I loved so many of the author's insights on Truth, but one thing that really stood out to me was this:
"While I may not always feel joy, God asks me to give thanks in all things, because He knows that the feeling of joy begins in the action of thanksgiving."

I was so encouraged by this powerful statement. It is my desire to have a thankful heart, seeking the Lord and finding Him; praising Him in all things. Joy begins in thanksgiving... isn't that beautiful? God's ways are so perfect.

And, we have big news of thanksgiving! The Lord has blessed our family with another child! Baby #4 will be arriving in May. I tried to take an announcement picture yesterday, and the children were really sweet helpers. I thought these 'bloopers' were too cute to delete without sharing them!

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."- 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Monday, September 30, 2013

my favorite birthday ever

 This year for my birthday, my wonderful husband prepared a special surprise! He secretly made reservations at a bed and breakfast in the mountains, and he asked some of our dear friends to keep our children overnight. It was so very thoughtful of him. My love language is quality time, so this sweet gift of spending time away together was absolutely perfect! We stayed in this beautiful cabin:
Oh, it was so cozy! We had a little fireplace and a loft. I loved it!
We enjoyed our time at the peaceful cabin, spending time talking by the fire, reading, and praying together. The next day, after we enjoyed a delicious breakfast, we went to Mayberry Days in Mt. Airy, North Carolina! It was only twenty minutes from our cabin. We had so much fun!
Deputy Gomer and Goober stopped for a picture with us!

 Barney, with his one little bullet. He was really funny, writing 'tickets' out to people who were jay walking!

This was one of our favorite shops- Floyd's Barber Shop! The man in the picture above is 90 years old. He cut Andy Griffith's hair through his middle school and high school years. He was precious.

David enjoyed talking with the barber and hearing his stories of his years in Mayberry.

And, they still use this cash register at the barber shop!

All the shops in the Andy Griffith show were designed to replicate the real shops in Mt. Airy (aka Mayberry).  If you've watched the Andy Griffith show, I'm sure you recognize Wally's Service station!

The Darlin' Boys truck.

We also visited the Mayberry Sheriff's office. David had to be locked up for stealing my heart, wink!

We wanted to eat lunch at Snappy Lunch, but as you can see, the line was out the door and down the street. Maybe next time!

Several of these patrol cars were lining the streets of Mayberry. It was really neat to hear the sirens!

We got to take a ride on a horse drawn carriage, too! It was such a wonderful birthday and I am so thankful for all the memories we made together! I am so very blessed to be Mrs. David McNeill!
"For now we only see a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."- 1 Corinthians 13:12

Monday, September 9, 2013

Photojournal: Big boy bed

"And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ- to the glory and praise of God."- Philipians 1:9-11

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday funny: elevator groovin'

David and I have so much fun together and we laugh a lot! He is my favorite person in the whole world. And sometimes, we can get a little silly together...

While we were in Costa Rica, our hotel room was up high. The elevator would climb, click....click.....click, all the way up to the 8th floor for us each day. The elevator music in Costa Rica is not like the instrumental slow music of U.S. elevators. Instead, the elevator music is cheesy 1980's American songs. wink.

Now when David is teasing with me at home, he has this dance move where he bends his elbows, holds his arms in close to his sides, and snaps his fingers. Actually, he taught our friends the signature move:

So, one day as we were riding on the elevator, a classic 80's song was playing. We both took one look at each other, and we started doing David's little dance. There we were, alone in the elevator, dancing and making each other laugh. Well, David took the dance move up a notch by closing his eyes to sway to the music, so I joined him. Closing our eyes, swaying, snapping- we are so silly! It was about that time when the. doors. opened.

Needless to say, we made a memory together that day!
Have a wonderful weekend!
" Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him."- Proverbs 30:5
ps- Oh! And one more thing! JJ got his first little nerf gun. He calls it his "shoot shoot". He's a pretty good aim,
so if you stop by our house for a visit- consider yourself warned! wink!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

parmesan cheese on the bathroom floor

It was almost time for dinner. I was standing at the kitchen counter, chopping up vegetables. David was outside grilling, and the children were playing at the table with a few toys.

All of a sudden, Bella exclaimed, "Mommy! JJ just poured cheese all over the bathroom!"

I whirled around. "What??"

"Go look! He was shaking it and shaking it everywhere!" Bella pointed to the bathroom. I saw our little man standing at the scene of the crime. His toes were covered in parmesan cheese.

I had to take a deep breath. wink.

 "I shake it, " was his only attempt at an explanation. "No no, JJ. We shake the cheese on our food, not the floor. No, no." I brushed off his little feet, and carried him to his crib for a time out.

 I gathered up materials- dust pan and small broom, paper towels and cleaning spray. As I was on my hands and knees wiping up the floor, I was asking myself, "How did he get that cheese? How did this happen?"And then I realized,  I know exactly how JJ was able to make such a mess, because I do it too. I make a mess all too often.

I left the parmesan cheese within JJ's reach. I took my eyes off of our little boy for a moment. I was distracted, and... parmesan cheese went everywhere. The same scenario plays out for me. Temptation surrounds me; the world is always just within my reach. And, if I take my eyes off the Lord, if I become too distracted to listen to the Holy Spirit... I make a mess.

I am so very thankful for my Savior, who knew that my mess would be too big for me. He knew that I could never be 'good' enough so He made a way for me. He sent His One and Only Son to die, for my sins. As I hugged our little boy and heard those sweet words, "I sorry, Mama. Please give me." (That's how JJ says please forgive me, it is adorable!) I praise God for  the gift of forgiveness and for His perfect love for us!

He melts my heart!
"But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him." -1 John 2:5a

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: early morning snugglers

"But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one."- 2 Thessalonians 3:3

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

the girl from Germany and God's perfect plan

I have written many stories over the last few weeks about our mission trip to Costa Rica. (And there are so many more stories! I don't want to forget any of them! wink.) This story about a girl we met in San Jose, who was actually from Germany...

It was beginning to lightly rain, and we were hoping the storm would pass. We didn't have an umbrella, but we continued walking door to door, sharing the gospel and inviting people to the festival at the local park.  Soon we realized the rain wasn't letting up. I was carrying stickers and my Bible but I put it all inside of David's backpack, because it was getting wet. We decided to start heading back toward the park because it seemed likely that the festival would be cancelled due to the weather.

However, as we got closer to the park, there were two girls walking toward us. One girl was tall and blonde, and the other girl looked to be native to Costa Rica. David, Jonah (our translator) and I stopped to talk with the girls. The tall blonde girl spoke some English and she explained she had just arrived from Germany; she was going to be living in Costa Rica for a year, to study and learn the language. She was hesitant to have a spiritual conversation with us, because she said that she had "never really read the Bible and she couldn't make any decisions without first having all the information. " David asked her if she would like to have a Bible, and she said she would like that. Then, David opened his backpack and handed her my Bible. She looked down at the Bible, looked up at us and back down at the Bible. She asked, "You're giving this to me? I can have this Bible?" David explained that we had come a very long way to tell people about Jesus, and share the Truth of the Bible. She looked a bit surprised by our gift and after a short pause she said, "Okay, here is the thing. I do have questions and I believe some things, but it's hard to say in English. If you could speak German, then I could talk to you."

Friends, this is the part of the story where God just blew us away! You see, we were not the only church from the United States who was helping on this mission trip. There were two other churches- one from Florida, and one from California. David and I didn't know all the people from the other two churches, but the Lord orchestrated this night perfectly. Because, standing only a few feet away, listening to our conversation with the girl from Germany, was a man named Willie. Willie was with the California church, and Willie is originally from Holland. Willie. speaks. German.

Willie stepped up to our conversation and began speaking to the blonde girl in German and her mouth literally dropped open. (Actually, all our of mouths dropped open a bit. wink.) And, guess what? Willie shared the gospel with her. The Holy Spirit moved in her heart.  She accepted Christ that night! Oh, and her friend accepted Christ, too!

Over and over again during our trip, we gave thanks to God for His plan. He didn't need to use us; He can do all things, without us. But, He loves us so much that He allows us to watch Him at work and He allows us to join Him. What an amazing God we serve! To Him be the glory!
Our team!

David and Jonah, enjoying this man's beautiful artwork.
"This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe."- 1 Timothy 4:9-10