Friday, January 13, 2012

Our time in Tuscaloosa, AL...

Well... I'm once again almost a month behind in posting.  Please accept my apologies for those of you that are following our journey.  I'm shocked at the difficultly I have in keeping this up.  The two main obstacles are internet service and time.  The first obstacle I can't do much about.  It is what it is.  However the second... time, is really puzzling.  Even though we should have plenty of time, we are actually very busy!  It seems like the days we are the busiest are the days when we have good internet service, but no time.  Then when we have time to blog, but we have no or limited internet service.  Thanks for your understanding and patience when the time between posts is long.

Dec. 5th-14th:

This was home while Jon was serving with Samaritan's Purse Tuscaloosa Rebuild Project:

Site #24, Lake Lurleen State Park, AL

Lake Lurleen is a gorgeous State Park and we had the place to ourselves!  It was so quiet and peaceful.  Unfortunately, we had NO internet or cell service while we were tucked in the sate park.  However, we enjoyed the gorgeous lakeside views and the hiking trails.

That's Lake Lurleen off to the left.  We had a gorgeous view from our picture window.

Our campsite is up the hill on the left.

Hiking the dam trail along the lake.
Everyone is acting so silly for the camera :)

The kids had fun making the hillside into a garden.  From the garden, they prepared Jon and I a "meal."  :)  It was yummy!

They are "growing" pine needles.

Caramelized Acorns, Pinecone Stew with "Rabbit", Popcorn on the top right, the 2 pinecones on the plate were "buffalo", middle of the plate was snake, along the bottom was prickly possum, and the sand glops are rolls..... everything was seasoned with wild chives.

The kids built their first fire from scratch!

They built their first fire from scratch...thanks to a great book called "Campout" that our dear friends the Jacksons gave us when we hit the road.

Since our time in Tuscaloosa was to focus on Jon's service project, we did not do much sightseeing.  It was also raining and cold for the first few days we were there.  We concentrated on the kids' studies, playing around the state park, and we took care of an oil change for Brutus.

DT working hard in Math-u-see Zeta....

I LOVE reading time!
DT:  Noah Webster, A Man Who Loved Words
Jolie:  Betsy-Tacy and Tib
Faith: Pollyanna

After picking up Jon from his last day at "work" on Saturday, we drove through The University of Alabama....It's a very pretty campus.

ROLLLLLL TIDE!  Congratulations on your National Title!

Saturday was a big day for our family as.... it was Faith's 13th birthday!  We're so excited to finally have a teenager!  Faith is an amazing young woman.  We're looking forward to watching her become all that God planned for her to be.  Here she is as she opens her eyes to her birthday gift, an electric piano!  She is very gifted musically and has been missing her piano.  We've also missed hearing her play.

She was overwhelmed with joy and excitement :)  We were, too!  

My heart rejoices to see her playing again!

We hung around Tuscaloosa for a few days after Jon's time with SP was over because we had to be back in Knoxville, TN for one last doctor appointment before we could start heading west.  During this time, we were able to do a few wish list things.  We got to attend a church that we've wanted to visit and we were able to visit Jon's brother and his family.

Sunday we attended a church that has been integral in helping us go deeper with God the last year and a half.  We were so excited to attend The Church at Brook Hills pastored by David Platt in Birmingham, AL!!!  Check them out here:   We love the way David Platt preaches/teaches.  He always brings to the forefront the awesomeness of God.  We are so thankful that God is using him in mighty ways and that God brought him into our life.

You can listen to his weekly messages here

Or check out Secret Church here  He holds "Secret Church" twice a year.  It's a DEEP study of the word.  The meeting lasts about 5 hours... until midnight!  It is a time that the Word is given the place of honor that it deserves.  It's not a time for frills and entertainment, but study.  It is set in a manner that is to remind us how we have many persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world that must meet in secret.

Radical....where it all started :)
After service in Birmingham, we ran into our niece...from Montgomery, AL in the parking lot.  It was truly amazing to run into her in a town that neither of us live in and that we had no idea we were in at the same time, much less at the same church!  There were a thousand or more people there at that service.  We're so amazed at how God orchestrated our meeting!

Sweet Annie is the beautiful redhead in the middle :)

Tuesday was our trip to Knoxville, TN.  We drove there and back in one day!  It was a long day, but we're so grateful to be free now to head west!

All schooling was done in the back seat this day!

Wednesday we spent getting ready for moving day on Thursday and we made another quick trip.  This time we headed to Montgomery, AL to spend the evening with Jon's brother Jeff, and his family.  It was so nice to see the Montgomery family in Montgomery!  God is using our nieces and nephew in mighty ways.  It's so fun watching them grow into lovely adults.

Cousin time!
Faith, Annie, Matthew, Daniel, Jolie, and Sarah
Thursday was moving day!!!  On our way to Laurel, MS.  We planned a short travel day for this one :)


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