Thursday, October 16, 2008

Taking a break

This will be my last post for awhile. Our family will be moving back to Tennessee on November 1st. We are looking forward to time with our family and friends. We are also looking forward to worshipping again at Westminster. We will be in Tennessee for about ten weeks.

In mid-January we will be moving to Sugar Land, Texas for the next phase of Brian's work project. Sugar Land is a southwestern suburb of Houston. Unless the project gets cancelled, we will be there 2-3 years. This is not the course I would have chosen for our family, but it is the one God has placed us on. We look forward to seeing how He might use us for His glory in Sugar Land.

I have struggled with the thoughts of being away from family and friends for so long. A dear friend recently sent my a quote by the 19th century Christian author Elizabeth Prentiss. Here is the quote along with commentary by Christian radio host Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: When she was in her fifties, the 19th-century writer Elizabeth Prentiss found out her husband had gotten a new job. She’d have to be uprooted from her home in New York and move to Chicago. It meant leaving a lot of friends, and the move would be dangerous to her fragile health.

Here’s what Elizabeth wrote in a letter to a friend:
“Place and position have next to nothing to do with happiness. We can be wretched in a palace, radiant in a dungeon. Perhaps this heartbreaking is exactly what we need to remind us that we are pilgrims and strangers on earth.”

Nancy: Maybe you’re facing a big, difficult change. Remember, true joy doesn’t come from our circumstances; it comes from our relationship with the Lord. He can help you be radiant today, even if you feel like you’re in a dungeon.

I wouldn't call Texas a dungeon, but I do pray God will help me to be radiant no matter what my circumstances. If you are facing difficult circumstances, may this quote help you remember where our true joy comes from.

With all the moving we will be doing in the next few months, I'm going to take a break from my blog. Look for more Joyner news in February.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Haircut

Andrew had his first haircut about 3 months ago. It was a terrible experience. He screamed the whole time. Because of the traumatic experience (for him and for me), I waited a long time to get it cut again. Andrew's hair has some natural wave and as you can tell from these pictures, it had become quite curly.

I took Andrew and the other boys to get their hair cut the day before Andrew's birthday. This time he sat perfectly still and only cried a little at the end. I couldn't believe it was the same child. I must say he looks a lot better now. The pictures in the birthday post reflect his new look.

Double Birthday

On Saturday, October 11 th we celebrated two birthdays at our house. Andrew turned 1 on the 11th and Luke turned 7 on the 12th. Luke didn't mind having a shared celebration, and I was grateful. He chose a Batman theme for the party. We had cheeseburgers, hashbrown casserole and baked beans for dinner. Dessert was a Batman cake with chocolate ice cream.

This was Andrew's first experience feeding himself cake. At first he squished his fingers in it. He wasn't quite sure how to get it to his mouth, so at one point he actually put his head down on his plate!

He finally got the hang of it.

Luke received a wooden race car to paint, a football, a soccer ball, a Buzz Lightyear and a set of UT football players.

Andrew received clothes, shoes, bib, sippy cups and a toy. I told Brian he probably had the most boring first birthday of any of our children. When you are one and have six other siblings, you just don't need much. I hope he will experience the same thing with his own family some day.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Andrew is 10 Months

Andrew turned 10 months old on August 11th. It's hard to believe he will be having a birthday soon. (It's even harder to believe that we will be celebrating it in California.) He started crawling a few weeks ago. He now loves to crawl around exploring the house, playing with whatever he can get his hands on and searching for crumbs! I should probably buy him some knee pads as our entire downstairs is tile.

Andrew loves his walker. He can move it (fast) with a purpose. The other day I watched him chase Hayley around the island!

Kathryn enjoys helping Andrew with his bottle.

Here are a some pictures I took of the kids before we left for church this morning.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Prayer Request

My brother, Kevin, left on a two week mission trip to Ukraine today. A year ago he wouldn't even have considered doing something like this. The Lord has done an amazing work in Kevin's life. Please pray for his (and the other 5 members of his team) safety, health, traveling mercies and that the Lord would use him to further His kingdom.

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July

For the past seven years we have celebrated Independence Day with 150 of our closest friends. Our pastor and his wife open their home each July 4th for an old-fashioned Independence Day picnic. Each picnic is spent swimming, playing volleyball, sweating, watching the kids play, eating fried chicken, sweating, dodging the rain, sweating, enjoying homemade ice cream and wonderful fellowship.

It was somewhat depressing for us to know that we would not be able to attend this year. In order to help the kids (and the grown-ups) not dwell on what they couldn't do, we had our own celebration.

We began the festivities by having an ice cream treat during the early afternoon. Around 5:00 we went outside and played games in the back yard. The first game was an egg and spoon relay. Brian, Luke, Hayley and Will were on one team. Ashley, Emily, Kathryn and I were the other team. Brian's team won the egg and spoon race.

Next I sent everyone (except Kathryn and I) off on a scavenger hunt. They had to find a toilet paper roll, a fruit, something purple, a penny, a kitchen utensil, some lint, dental floss, etc. Once again, Brian's team won.

Brian searching for a penny.

Kathryn "scavenging" the chips and black bean salsa!

Our next relay race was the chimp race. Using the same teams, each person had to grab their ankles and walk as fast as possible to the end of our yard and back. Brian wasn't sure he would be able to participate. He said I was assuming he could actually grab his ankles! My team was somewhat handicapped by Kathryn, and we lost once again.

Notice Brian "stretching out" while he awaits his turn!

Our final game was a water balloon toss. At first the kids didn't want to do it (claiming they didn't want to get wet). In the end most of them said it was their favorite. Finally my team won. Brian and I were the last competitors and he dropped the first balloon I tossed him!

After the games we watched Benji. This is the first movie I remember seeing in a movie theater. The kids enjoyed it.

For dinner we had a picnic in the backyard. Brian grilled chicken for fajitas. After dinner we all iced and decorated our own cupcakes. I think the children enjoyed decorating them as much as eating them.

From the top of the hill in our subdivision you can see most of the city of Irvine. Around 9:00 Brian, Ashley, Emily, Hayley and Luke drove up to watch the fireworks. They were able to see fireworks from 5 different celebrations.

Although we missed celebrating with our friends today, I think we all enjoyed the time we spent together as a family. Some blessings of the day included watching the children devour special treats, cuddling with Kathryn while watching Benji, cool weather, the smell of lemon blossoms in our backyard, hearing shouts through out the house of what had been found or was still needed during the scavenger hunt and most of all sharing the day with the people I love.

Will's Birthday

Will turned 5 on June 30th. Since Brian's parents bought tickets for everyone to attend an Angels baseball game on the 30th, we celebrated his birthday a few days early. Will selected a Backyardagains theme (Nick Jr. show). He was especially excited to have a Pablo pinata. He asked for rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese, strawberry applesauce, salad and chocolate cake. His gifts included more trains for the train set he shares with Luke, a Playmobil horse and knight set, Chutes and Ladders and some hand made gifts from his siblings.

Pablo (aka Will) gets ready to blow out his candle.

Will takes a swing at the pinata. Hayley was able to "behead" him, but we eventually had to pull the strings on the back to release the candy.

Will's grandparents gave him a Thomas and Friends book after learning he could read so well.

Sea World

Brian's parents flew to Irvine on June 22nd. They spent 10 days with us. While they were here we visited Sea World San Diego. We enjoyed our day despite the warm weather and crowds. We saw Shamu's show, a dolphin show, a 4-D Sesame Street show, an acrobatic show over the water and a pet show. Most of us enjoyed the pet show the most. All of the animals are rescued from animal shelters. It's amazing what the animals have been taught to do.

Brian, Ashley, Hayley and Will rode Shipwreck Rapids and got soaked. Afterward they were willing to sit in the soak zone at the Shamu show. People near them got wet, but they didn't. At the end of the day Brian, Ashley, Emily and Hayley tried to ride Journey to Atlantis. This water ride has a 60ft drop at the end. While waiting in line the ride was stopped for some maintenance which prevented them from being able to ride. The tickets we bought will allow us to return once before we leave CA. Hopefully they will be able to ride then.

This dog is jumping rope while his trainer and another dog turn it for him!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ashley's Birthday

Ashley turned 12 on June 5th. It's hard to believe I have a twelve year old. She is such a blessing to me in her help with the younger children, assistance in the kitchen, etc. She is a delightful young lady who is also growing in her walk with the Lord. I am looking forward to watching her grow and mature in the years to come.

In the past year Ashley has read and watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy. For her birthday she asked for some Lord of the Rings action figures (to display on her desk) and the soundtracks to the movies. She also received some books, a drawing book, a box of her favorite candy and some hand made gifts from her siblings. Her meal request was chicken enchilada soup and marble (vanilla and chocolate) cheesecake.

Friday, May 30, 2008

A Visit from Friends

Our dear friends Michael and Carolyn Simpson and their son Josiah came to visit earlier this month. We thoroughly enjoyed spending time with just ended too soon. We felt like a little bit of Kingsport came to visit. Now if we could just get some more friends to come visit... (hint, hint)!

On Saturday night we took them to Laguna Beach to watch the sunset. This is one of our favorite things to do with guests, as we only get to see the sun rise on the east coast.




We all enjoyed a day at Disneyland on Monday. It was very hot, but otherwise we had a great time. Josiah and Kathryn (both 2 and 1/2 years old) did well and even met up with some favorite characters. We also saw Tigger, but he wouldn't stop bouncing long enough for me to get a good picture.

Pacific Coast Highway

If you ever have the opportunity to drive US 1 from Morrow Bay to Monterey, I highly recommend it. The coastal views are breathtaking. It took a lot longer to get home, but it was well worth it. I was afraid the children would soon tire of the view, (especially since we spent about 30 hours in the car together on this trip) but they didn't. The ocean was a brilliant deep blue, unlike the grey-blue I usually see on the east coast. Enjoy the beauty of our Lord's creation!

I told Brian I was going to title this picture "The Old Man and the Sea". :-)