Sunday, June 29, 2008

Singing and Dancing in the Rain

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Afternoon of swimming at Nammy and Bee's

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Dream of The West

Our Colorado view
Our Florida View

Websters dictionary defines "dreams" as a "vision of the fancy" or "something delightful". And of course there is the definition of "images or ideas occurring in the mind during sleep". I have been thinking alot about dreams recently. Not the kind that one has while sleeping but those visions that I believe give us hope, direction and the energy to withstand those tests of time. I firmly believe that the Lord speaks into our lives dreams. Dreams that help steer us in the direction that He would have us go....a picture so to speak of what could be waiting at the end of the road if we will just be faithful and follow Him. There is much testimony in God's Word to the fact that God loves to impart visions or "dreams" to his people. The Old Testament is chocked full of stories of dreams fulfilled providing us with a great hope that God can and will make our dreams come true and we don't have to go to Walt Disney World to experience it. God has fulfilled many of my dreams throughout life...marrying a wonderful man who loves the Lord, giving me 4 beautiful children just to name a few. Well, God has once again moved in the heart of our family giving us a vision and bringing about the fulfillment of that dream in a way that we could have never imagined. This dream began many years ago with a trip to Colorado. We traveled out to the Rocky Mountains for a little bit of skiing and we fell in love. I feel a little bit like Sally in the Disney movie CARS when she tells Lightening McQueen about why she stayed in Radiator Springs and shows him that with which she fell in love. It wasn't a cute little sports car but the majesty of the beautiful landscape and the people who loved her. Like Sally our souls were capture by the breathtaking mountains, our spirits encouraged by the friendly people. We became addicted to worship services at a local church that left us speechless and hungry for more and the laid back lifestyle of western living was always soothing to our weary bodies and minds. Each year we would make our trips westward sometimes just for a couple of days just to get our "Colorado fix" and each time we would return refreshed and wishing for more time in our new favorite place. We would digest each trip with thoughtful dreaming as well as prayer about what God was doing in our hearts. Was this just a beautiful place of respite that the Lord had given us or was it more? As we sought the Lord's guidance and direction we felt that "there was more" but what did that "more" look like? Well, we began exploring and for years we felt a little like Abraham wandering in the desert although unlike Abraham we had tasted our "Promise Land." We literally spent years on the Internet looking at homes, exploring job opportunities, checking out schools and with each venture it seemed as though God wasn't ready to fully open the door. HE never closed the door, just cracked it. So we waited and thankfully, Mike is such a visionary. Throughout all of these years he never lost sight of this dream even though I vacillated back and forth...he remained constant and God stayed faithful. HE always gave us morsels of manna that let us know that HE was still working and HIS work came to fruition during the past 10 months. It began with Mike's decision to sell his law practice and retire, the second piece of the puzzle came in God's directing us to home school the children and finally after years of searching for the perfect Colorado house....we found it! And as Emeril says...BAM!!!! So you say...what does all of this mean for The Minot's, well for right now it means that we have the awesome opportunity to have dual residences. 6 months of the year we will soak in the beauty of Florida and the remaining 6 months will be spent absorbing ALL that the Lord has for us in Colorado and as long as we are successful in our homeschooling endeavors and the kids are thriving this arrangement has the possibility of being a permanent lifestyle. We have a few details to iron being Cody's medical care and how to manage his treatment long distance and of course we are currently attempting to sort through what stays in Florida and what makes the trip west but with all the decisions and uncertainties about what lies ahead we are more than excited. We are blessed with two beautiful places to live and have the opportunity to provide our children with the best of both worlds. We are looking forward to growing friendships and connections in CO, seeing our kids enjoy living in a house with a yard a neighborhood, snuggling by a fire on a cold night, experiencing all of the outdoor activities of a cooler and less humid environment and absorbing the richness of a community of Believers. And so God has finally fulfilled our dream. Will it be a "vision of the fancy" or "something delightful"....we certainly believe it will be that and so much more. We will spend the month of July ironing out all the details and then head west at the end of the month. We will begin The Minot's Great Adventure with a scenic road trip taking in some of the sites along Route 66 and ending in our little patch of heaven in Colorado and remaining there until the first of January. I will send out an email with our new address and phone number when we arrive in CO. Stay tuned for updates and of course lots of pics of our Great Adventure. As I have saturated myself recently with the music of Steven Curtis Chapman I found an oldie but goody that will be our theme song and it goes like this:

Started out this morning in the usual way
Chasing thoughts inside my head of all I had to do today
Another time around the circle try to make it better than the last
I opened up the Bible and I read about me
Said I'd been a prisoner and God's grace had set me free
And somewhere between the pages it hit me like a lightning bolt
I saw a big frontier in front of me and I heard somebody say "let's go"!

Saddle up your horses we've got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder of God's amazing grace
Let's follow our leader into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other - this is The Great Adventure
Come on get ready for the ride of your life
Gonna leave long faced religion in a cloud of dust behind
And discover all the new horizons just waiting to be explored
This is what we were created for

We'll travel over, over mountains so high
We'll go through valleys below
Still through it all we'll find that
This is the greatest journey that the human heart will ever see
The love of God will take us far beyond our wildest dreams
Yeah... oh saddle up your horses... come on get ready to ride

The Great Adventure by Steven Curtis Chapman

We've saddled up our horses and are ready to ride!!!!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Blooming in the Night

There is a flower that blooms only once a year along the banks of the intercoastal waterway where we live. It is called the Night-blooming cereus and they pop out for a few days in the month of June. The past week they have been popping out with large, stunning white-and-yellow flowers that open well after dark and close forever by morning, in a once-a-year explosion of beauty. The blooms come from an unlikely-looking cactus vine, a gangly snake of a plant that often drapes the trunks of palm trees up and down the riverfront in front of our home.
What is amazing about this incredibly beautiful flower is that each flower only blooms one night a year and the bloom only stays open for a few minutes. Mike was able to snap some shots of this gorgeous flower on Sunday morning before daylight and as I was looking at the photos I was reminded of how often our lives look like a "gangly snake of a plant" on the outside but there is just waiting for that perfect time, an exquisite bloom to pop out and reveal God's beauty. I am in awe of my God...His creation is filled with such unique and beautiful things such as this once a year flower. He presented these gifts to us for our enjoyment and delight. Gifts that make the confusion, sadness, pain and hurt a little easier to absorb if we will just take the time to notice. How many times have you received a bouquet of flowers and felt a surge of happiness fill you. God gives us bouquets of his creation each day to make us smile and as a reminder of just how much He loves us. If you have a chance today soak in God's creation...stop to smell the flowers, watch a bee buried in a flower or a butterfly flutter, or a sunrise/sunset or simply just allow a bloom inside of you to "pop" allowing others to see God's beauty in you.
I have LOTS to share but it seems as though the demands of home, family and summertime don't give me alot of time to give a report of what we have been up to lately. We enjoyed our vacation to Callaway Gardens (more about that in another post), Mike is winding down his time in the office, I got my braces off, WOO HOO. Cody is doing much better with the Diabetes stuff (thanks to everyone who has been praying for us) and Grace and Emily well they just make me smile (except when they are arguing and whining). I am hoping to have some time to post some news and pics later this week.
Thanks again for checking in and ENJOY GODS BEAUTIFUL WORLD!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Vacation and Summertime

Emily and a new friend (adopted from Guatemala
Eating a plain marshmallow

Not so sure about roasting marshmallows.

EEW a bug!

Emily enjoying a swing. She just need a glass of lemonade.
One of my favorite shots of Emily.

Exploring the corn in the vegetable garden.

Admiring the flowers
The girls were careful to touch but not pick.

Taking an afternoon nap with Aunt Cynthia

Cody and my cousins son showing off their muscles

Such cuties!

After a week away vacationing in Callaway Gardens we are back home. We have actually been home for over a week but I haven't had an opportunity to post about our trip. Our time away was nice with the change of scenery good for the heart, mind and soul. We didn't get a break from the heat and humidity though. It was hotter in west central GA than it was at home but nevertheless it is always nice to get away from the mundane things of life. My husband's family has been going to Callaway Gardens for over 40 years and it is truly a family vacation. It is always a time of rest and we love it that we don't have to be anywhere at a certain time, that is unless you choose a timed activity and of course we all take turns cooking dinner each night and it is always at a certain time. There are plenty of activities and attractions if you desire but we mostly like to sit around enjoying our breakfast, take a few bike rides. enjoy the flowers and butterflies and spend time with the kids. We spent more time with the kids this year in that none of them participated in the kids recreational program which limited some activities for me and Mike but it was fun having them all around and they enjoyed spending lots of time with Mike's sister, Aunt Cynthia. She has lots of energy for entertaining Cody, Grace and Emily and is much more creative than I am. They created clubs, built imaginary club houses, climbed trees and explored a vast array of bugs....YES bugs. For some reason our cabins and the surrounding area was filled with bugs. I HATE BUGS of all types and Emily has acquired my hatred although Grace loves them. We were constantly killing various creepy crawlies so that Emily wouldn't freak out but despite her freak outs she eagerly examined all kinds of creatures at the Butterfly Center during a bug demonstration and even got up close and personal with a snake at a snake encounter (thankfully I wasn't present for that one). I don't have pictures of those yet but will post as soon as I get them from my sister in law. We swam in the lake and the pool, played putt putt golf and Emily tried out roasted marshmallows which she didn't like. She had looked forward all day to the Marshmallow Roast on the beach around the lake and once we charred the marshmallow she informed me that she didn't like black marshmallows. That was it, she didn't want to try anymore. We visited with family and ate lots of yummy food. My grandparents and cousins little boy came for a visit for a day and Mike's cousin and his wife also visited with us. We had the pleasure of meeting a friend of my sister in law who has an adopted daughter from Guatemala. She was precious and Emily and Grace enjoyed having a playmate. We only took one bike ride this year which was a little disappointing given that bike riding is our favorite thing to do at Callaway. Cody did well during the week with his sugar levels staying pretty normal despite the fact that we were out of the controlled environment of home and having to accommodate meals that others prepared. I relaxed a little bit on my nagging him about what and when he was eating, I didn't count every chip and cracker and I didn't ask him for a finger for a stick constantly. I think that we all needed this change of scenery and breath of fresh air. After Cody's diagnosis I have to admit that I was slipping into "a pit". I was quickly descending into the murky, miry clay of anger, despair, fatigue and fear. I couldn't see it until I was able to leave the everyday life of home and relax in a different environment. It also helped that God so beautifully allowed me to stumble across Beth Moore's book "Out of the Pit" just days before we left. Beth Moore's teachings ALWAYS inspire me to become more passionate and dedicated to the God who created me but this book truly transformed my "stinking thinking". It doesn't mean that I am not walking on the edge of the pit daily but it does mean that I know it is there and I am going to fight against choosing to jump in and set up house. SOOOO, we are trudging along in life....back at home, trying to stay on top of the dishes, laundry, toys and the rest of the clutter that fills our home. Cody is loving staying up late and sleeping in and is looking forward to Art and Clay Camp and Grace and Emily love every chance they get to swim and be outside. A couple of days a week we visit with my nephews and my sister who is just weeks away from giving birth to my newest niece Bella. Oh I just can't want for this little girl to get here. She is going to be in for a wild ride with two brothers and two cousins who are so ready for another girl. Well that is about it for Summertime and Easy Living....did I really just write "Easy Living"? I still have a few more exciting things to share but again will have to hold off until another post.
HAPPY SUMMER! Eat lots of watermelon and peaches (my favorite summertime foods).

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Penny for your Thoughts

I snapped this shot of Cody this afternoon while he was sitting in our breakfast nook watching the rain explanation needed.

Rough Week

We ended our "rough week" with a trip to the beach. It was a bright spot of our week as I watched the kids have fun and enjoy the surf and sand. We really should do this more often!

Cody and his boogie board

My beautiful "surfer girl"

Loving the sand

It is Monday and I am praying that it is the start of much better days than we have experienced recently. It really is so easy to blog about all of the good things that take place in our lives but when life gets rough I find it harder to sit down and write. But for me writing is therapy....which is why I enjoy blogging. It gives me a chance to journal my thoughts and feelings while giving others an opportunity of knowing what is going on with our family. Anyway, as I said we have had some difficult days recently. On May 22 (Cody's 11th b'day) I received a call from Cody's pediatrician telling me that she wanted to see Cody right away. Some routine blood work had come back with abnormal results....his fasting glucose levels were very high. Instead of taking cake and icecream to school to celebrate his birthday we were on the road to discover that these high levels were due to Type I Diabetes. After meeting with an endocrinologist we were admitted to the hospital where the diagnosis was confirmed. We spent 3 days in the hospital regulating Cody's sugar levels with a controlled diet and insulin shots while becoming educated on the all consuming hourly routines of managing his diabetes. After arriving back home life became extremely difficult. Our days were full to capacity without the addition of 6-8 finger sticks to check sugars coupled with 4 insulin shots a day and a very regulated meal schedule with a little boy who is a "carb addict". We have had many ups and downs. Lots of anger and meltdowns from everyone including myself and a child who is confused and doesn't quite understand why this happened to him. The girls are frustrated because Cody demands so much attention and get angry when they can't have their favorite sugary snacks and frankly I am just so tired and overwhelmed with it all that I too find myself angry. I have told myself over and over that at least this is something that is treatable and maybe one day a cure will be found...I remind myself that there are far worse things that could have happened and that there is a great deal of worse suffering in the world but right now it is my life that has been turned upside down and pain from many angles has entered into our daily walk. I'm hurting that my son has lost a "normal" childhood. I hurt with wonder at what his teenage years will look like...what will happen when he is not under my supervision anymore. I become scared sometimes that I will do something wrong in caring for him. A mistake that may make him sick. It has only been a week and I am weary of constantly sticking him. His little fingers are getting rough and his legs are speckled with dots from his shots. Wearing the hat of nurse right now is not fun....I just want to be the mom. I want to have fun without worrying about the next stick and shot. I want him to be able to eat what he likes and not to have to say no all the time. Despite the hurt and confusion I know that God is near. He will never leave me or forsake me and I know he will strengthen me through this valley. I have read alot of Psalm this week and 139:1-6 says

"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in -behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. Too lofty for me to attain."

It reminds me of the fact that my God is so intimately acquainted with me. He knows everything about me. He knows that I am hurting and He hurts with me. He will strengthen me but for now I'm just enjoying resting in His love. Yes, I hope it is a better week. If not we will make it through. I will love on my children, smile at the sun rising over the river (if I am awake), take in the smell of freshly cut grass or a freshly cut watermelon and know that one day when we all get to Heaven the hurts and pain of this life will be no more. Thanks for checking in and I wish for you a wonderful week.