Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Beach Getaway!

Last Saturday, I looked at Jonathan & asked, "Is it worth it for the boys & me to go to the beach?"  I had packed what felt like our entire house - clothes, swimsuits, beach toys, food for Peyton, bottles, my pump, the nap nanny for get the picture.  We were going with Jonathan to St. Simons Island, Georgia for a preaching conference.  Jonathan would be gone most of the trip in meetings, break-out sessions, a golf outing, & a worship service.  The boys & I were on our own. Jonathan answered, "Yes," so we were on our way with our car packed!!!
The weather was perfect, the boys were well-behaved, the hotel room was spacious, & Jonathan surprised me with an extra night!!! We loved it all! I even got TWO HOURS  alone on the beach! (The boys & Jonathan all took two-hour naps...boy, they behave for him!) We got to see friends from seminary, Jonathan's peer learning group, & even make new connections that hopefully will be lasting friendships. Here are a few highlights - 
The boys & I met seminary friends, Gigi, Lydia, & Susanna at the Pier Playground.  Peyton had a blast!

Lydia Naeve & Peyton sharing a snack!
We stayed at The King & Prince Resort, & they have the PERFECT kiddie pool! I was able to play with Peyton & watch Nolan all alone! Whew - I was exhausted after a day out & about with both boys.
Peyton loving the pool!
Nolan's first pool experience!
 Being the wonderful husband he is (& recognizing my love language of quality time), Jonathan spent some time with us Monday evening.  We got ice cream, walked to the pier, & enjoyed time as a family.  We didn't plan it, but got to see the beautiful sunset!

Enjoying the sunset on the pier
I love the beach, but I LOVE, LOVE the beach in September - warm enough to tan, cool enough not to sweat, open beaches, short restaurant lines, etc.  It's wonderful!!! Yes - the trip was worth it (& I still am finishing the laundry from it!)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday's Sermon: Our Unexpected Journey with Nolan

Our new family photo!
This morning Jonathan plans to preach about Nolan's first two weeks of life.  When he told me his plans for this Sunday, I began to wonder how he would articulate in a 20-minute sermon of our emotions, grief, prayers, & JOY of the 14-day roller-coaster we experienced with Nolan.  My prayers for today - God's Holy Spirit is present, God uses Jonathan's words for His glory, & that others sense God's peace & comfort in their unexpected adventures of life. 
The scripture text for this morning, Mark 9:23-24,23Jesus said to him, ‘If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.’ 24Immediately the father of the child cried out,* ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’   
A blurb from Jonathan's August newsletter article - 

During those 10 days my faith was not strong and my resolve tested by hearing the words “puzzling mass” “pediatric urologist” “specialist” “tumor” and “surgery on your newborn in less than a week”.  I was shaken to my very core about all the really big questions in life- evil, faith, pain and suffering of the innocent.  As I asked myself those questions, I was left painstakingly void of any answer, and yet I still clung to this verse.  At moments when I wondered if God was even listening to the multitude of prayers being lifted I still prayed, “Lord, I do believe; help my unbelief.”

It was not a brave prayer nor a proud prayer, but the only one that kept coming to me.  I’m not certain the lesson, but I felt the experience of ones faith (or lack of faith) powerful enough to share because it is true and it is my story.  My prayer is that this story might help you better understand your experience and your faith journey.

Will you spend time this Sabbath morning to pray for your pastor as he/she delivers a message? As a minister's wife, I see 'the other side' of a preacher's Sunday morning.  I am appreciative of all who pray for Jonathan, truly asking for God's spirit to be present in the worship.  My prayer is that our story will help others reflect on their faith journey & pray, "Lord, I do believe; help me in my unbelief."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Planes, Trains, & Automoblies

This past Friday, we took Peyton to the Athens Airport to watch planes fly off! He LOVED it! We got there just in time to see a Marines helicopter take off.  Because the pilot knew we were watching, he did several tricks for Peyton.  We got to take pictures & see the joy of pure happiness on our child.  Nolan seemed to thoroughly enjoy it as well...sleeping in his car seat.
 I would recommend taking any child to the airport to watch planes.  It is a FREE family outing, & we all enjoy free! I'd love to hear your FREE family outing ideas.  We're always looking for new ideas!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Parties & Dedications

It's moments like this past weekend that remind me how wonderful it is to be a mama, how good life can be, & how family & friends love my boys.  We had a memorable, fun, & exhausting weekend celebrating Peyton's birthday & Nolan's dedication. 
We had 13 (plus a girlfriend) family members & friends travel from NC, MS, KY, & FL to celebrate the weekend.  We had tons of great food - bar-b-q, cupcakes, pizza, dirt cake, homemade mystery filling cake (my mom's specialty)...& the list could go on.  We had tons of fun playing with all of Peyton's new toys & tears of joy as Nolan was dedicated.  Our boys bring us so much JOY!
Here are some highlights -
1. Waking up on Saturday morning as a family of FOUR watching Peyton play with his new toys.  He is in his new 2T pj's playing outside (at 7:30am...haha) with his new sandbox.
Peyton's New Birthday Present!!!


 2. Peyton's 2nd Cars & Construction party was a huge success! We had cupcakes, rocky road ice cream (& vanilla), dirt cake, & drinks for dessert.  I also had M&Ms in dump trucks on the tables.  It made the preparation such much easier only providing dessert & not an entire meal... a good thing for a mama with a newborn.
Car Race during the party
3.We had different "work shifts" at the party - car racing, sidewalk chalk, the Little Digger sandbox, & making your own construction hat.  Here is a picture of Peyton with his hat -
Peyton wearing his construction hat made at the party!
4.We had delicious cupcakes & homemade icing made by my sister, Nancy! YUMMY! Peyton loved being the center of attention! :) 
Singing Happy Birthday!
5. On Sunday morning, retired minister Hugh Kirby dedicated Nolan Crosby Barlow.  Due to Jonathan being senior pastor, he does not want to dedicate his own children.  It was a special moment that included Nolan's grandparents.  Due to Nolan's eventful beginning of life, this dedication was extremely special for me.  It truly takes village to help raise a child in a Christ-centered home, church, & community. 
Dedication service at Royston Baptist Church (with our parents)
6. Our luncheon after church was special with all our family gathered in our home to celebrate Nolan's life & dedication to God.  I was blessed by all the love we received this weekend!
Family Picture after church on Sunday!
On Monday, we washed sheets & towels, took long naps, & watched a movie! We were exhausted, but filled with so many happy memories!