Monday, September 29, 2008

The World Race Begins!

Our daughter, Erin, has begun her 11-month world missions tour through the World Race. She left on Saturday morning, flying through LA and Hong Kong, on her way to the Philippines. During her layover at the LAX airport, she accessed the internet and posted a picture of herself and some of the other team members she met there. It was so good to hear from her already! She was “all smiles” and seemed very excited to be meeting up with her team and finally getting started on the journey they have been preparing for all these months. Al and I are also very excited for her as the trip begins. We have been looking up information online about the Philippines, where she will be stationed for the first month. It is a beautiful country – did you know that it is comprised of over 7,000 islands? I know we will be learning a lot about the world this year as we track all of the countries where Erin will be working. Below is a video Erin taped last week before she left. Also, click here to visit Erin’s World Race blog.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Erin's Send-Off Party

Sunday afternoon we had a gathering of friends on the farm to wish our daughter Erin a safe journey and to give her an opportunity to say many goodbyes as she prepares to leave for the Philippines and her 11 month World Race missions tour, this Friday. It was a perfect day for an outdoor event, a tribute to the last day of summer. Erin wanted a simple drop-in under the trees in front of the house to remind her of the times spent in that very place with her grandparents growing up. The oak trees that we planted around the time Erin was born are now large, beautiful trees that offer a wonderful, shady space for friendly get-togethers like this one. Tables were set-up and delicious homemade treats to share were brought by many friends. Everyone pitched in to make this day so very special for us all! We spent the afternoon laughing and crying with family and friends as Erin thanked so many people for the prayers and awesome amount of support they have shown her as she prepared for her trip over the past several months. It was so touching for me to see the wide variety of people that came – little children, friends from college, and elders of our church to name a few. These arepeople that have shaped her life and are now empowering, and even pushing her to reach out in the same way to others as her pilgrimage begins.
It was easy to feel God’s presence as so much love was poured over our family. I ask for continued prayers for Erin as she will begin her journey soon, and also ask for many prayers as we will all have to say tearful goodbyes to Erin in just a few days. It will be hard to let her go but I know God will bless Erin, her team, and so many others she will encounter during the next year. This journey is sure to be a wonderful blessing for Erin and our family as we share her with the world!

To learn more about the World Race, click here!
Click here to visit Erin’s race blog!
Click here to send Erin a message!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

From the Pumpkin Patch!

In preparation for fall, I always like to find new and fun ways to use pumpkins to decorate and brighten-up our home. I found the following ideas for this year. One idea is to cut the tops off of the pumpkins, scoop out the insides, and then place a potted plant, like this season’s lovely chrysanthemums, inside. Aren’t these beautiful as front porch or tabletop d├ęcor?
Another idea is to use all of the fresh vegetables from your garden, or a local farmer’s market, to create a friendly pumpkin face. You can use flowers for eyes, a carrot for a nose and cabbage for hair. Be creative and let me know if you have any other neat ideas for pumpkin decor in your home this fall!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Angel Trumpet

For my birthday this year, my dear friend Annie gave me a plant. Although I trust Annie in all gardening endeavors, as she has a special touch with every flower and animal she encounters, I must say it did not look like much at first. It was even kind of scraggly. My husband Al called it a “poke salad” which is the term his father gave to an unsightly plant that grew on the farm when he was growing up. However, as we faithfully tended this plant (with much help from Annie herself) it has all of a sudden blossomed and is gorgeous, full of pink flowers. It is called an Angel Trumpet, and if you ever find one, I urge you not to judge it, as we did, at first glance! What a very special birthday gift this plant has become – Thank you, Annie!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Faith and the Stock Market

Psalm 9:9-10 – The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

I know that for many of us this week, our hearts and minds have been focused on the trials of the recent stock market and our struggling economy. During these trying times, when many are feeling the weight of this economy firsthand, searching for employment and struggling to ensure family savings, it is hard to be joyful in prayer and hard to thank God for his many blessings in our lives. But, it is in these difficult times that I remind myself of the importance of trusting God to guide us and not forgetting that He is good in all things, that we are always in His care.
Trusting anyone or anything is difficult when dealing with the current uncertainty of the stock market, but I know I must continue to trust God as he guides my life. It is when I actively include God in all aspects of my life – work and play – that I notice His ever presence the most. God shows His face in the oddest, seemingly most insignificant places. I find immense comfort and joy in these moments. Time and time again I find that when I make an effort to seek God’s guidance, I am assured of His love for us and know that if we put our trust in Him, he will provide.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Brother is Moving Home!

My brother, Donald, and his family have lived in Greensboro, NC for many years. Last spring, however, Donald started a new job that would move him to Charlotte. I was so excited to hear that my baby brother would be moving back home to the city where my family, my other brother David’s family and my mother all live. We have also had the blessing at Winget Farm to have Donald move in with us, until the rest of his family is able to find a new house and make the move to be with him. We have been so blessed to spend quality time together over the many meals and family gatherings shared so far. We are all excited for the day when the rest of his family will join us!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Beth Moore Bible Study

The Women’s Bible Study has started up again at Pleasant Hill Presbyterian. Every fall, Clara Giles organizes the Bible study and inspires women from our church to make the commitment to join together in studying a new topic from God’s word. I always look forward to these meetings. It is hard work as we have a lot of reading and questions to answer throughout the week, however it is so rewarding as I always learn a lot and discover new ways to interpret passages I have read throughout my life.
This fall, we are studying along with a lecture series called “The Patriarchs: Encountering the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” from Beth Moore. Beth Moore is an amazing woman. She is a minister at First Baptist Church in Houston, Texas and founded a biblically based organization for women called Living Proof Ministries. I am always blessed by her teachings and by the other women in the Bible study. Beckie and Susan from the studio also attend this Bible study, so we are able to remind each other to keep up with our studies! I cannot say enough about the importance in my life of maintaining this time of fellowship with my girlfriends. Not only do we grow in faith together, we also form an amazing support system as we study and pray together each week.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Going Green with Biodiesel Fuel

As gas prices over the past couple of years have risen and finding alternate sources of energy for our automobiles has become increasingly important, my sons Mac and Sam decided to take matters into their own hands. It actually all started with Sam’s senior exit project in high school. He decided to study and do his project on biodiesel fuel and his experiment worked! Biodiesel fuel is any clean burning alternative fuel, created from renewable resources. Mac, and Sam when he’s home from college, drive to local restaurants that have agreed to let them use their grease waste. Gathering the grease is an adventure in itself as they fill up a large tank and haul it back home. They recycle this oil in our shop, filtering it and mixing it with diesel and use it for their trucks. They are recycling and in the process saving a lot of money. Eventually, they hope to run completely off recycled grease, and boy do they have big plans! Mac and Sam amaze me with their resourcefulness and I am so proud of them for finding an alternative to the expensive and environmentally draining fuel system.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Early Mornings at the Gym

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning I wake up at the crack of dawn and head to the gym for a workout. It is so hard to get out of bed some mornings but it helps that I have a group of fun (and strong!) girlfriends to work out with, including my painting friend, Jeannie, from the studio. We work hard and have a great time, too! There are so many wonderful health benefits that we all know come from working out – lower blood pressure, decreased risk of disease and prevention of muscle loss. But, what really gets me to the gym are the feel-good benefits of increased energy throughout the day, stress release and the comradery of my friends at the gym. It really is a blessing, even if that’s not always the easiest to remember that early in the morning! I would encourage everyone to get a group of friends together to walk with or head to the gym with a few times a week. It really is fun once you make time for it and all of your loved ones will be glad to know you care about being around for them for years to come!