Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Exploring Cumberland Island

I've been looking forward to sharing about our fantastic field trip last Friday with our homeschool group to Cumberland Island, GA.  It was such an amazing place, full of fascinating history and unspoiled beauty, and God blessed us with a picture-perfect day to enjoy this national treasure!





Our adventure started when we boarded the ferry!  It was a relaxing 45 minute ride out to Cumberland Island, which proved to be lots of fun for the children and provided many photo-ops for our photography-loving teen girls!












When we reached the island, we disembarked, full of anticipation for the day ahead! 



One of our many blessings of the day was having Ranger Renee to lead our tour.  With 32 years of experience under her belt, she was very knowledgeable and a gifted storyteller, and her animated accounts drew us into the colorful history of the island.






One of the highlights of the day was watching the wild horses!  The stallions put on quite a show for us, as they fought throughout the day for the affections of a particular mare!  ;)











Although not as exciting as horses, I was really fascinated by this tree -- a palm tree with a live oak tree engrafted!  Very interesting combination!



The ruins of Dungeness, the 19th century mansion of Thomas and Lucy Carnegie. The history of the island is intertwined with the history of this wealthy family.



Our Co-op kids in front of the ruins!



After completing our ranger-led tour, we ate a picnic lunch and then walked through the sand dunes to the beach. 



Adults and kids alike enjoyed shedding our socks and shoes and feeling the warm sand on our feet, as we scoured the beach for interesting shells and shark's teeth.  






After walking a mile up the beach, we turned westward and made our way through the "enchanted" live oak forest!



I loved this dense forest with its tangled web of live oak branches.





After a watching a short film about the history of Cumberland Island, we boarded the ferry, exhausted (after walking 5 miles that day!) sunburned, and more than ready to go home, but eager to come back and spend another day exploring Cumberland Island!



A big thank you to my daughter, Hannah, for taking this picture of the Avenue for me, as well as many of the other pictures above, including all those amazing horse pictures! 





Monday, April 29, 2013

Marriage Monday: Happily Ever After {Link up}


Marriage Mondays



Welcome back to Marriage Monday! I'm back home again after spending a week with my Mom and Dad, and trying hard to resume a normal routine, while continuing to unpack boxes, hang pictures and settle into our new house! (Pictures coming soon!)

My mind is definitely on marriage these days! Unbelievably, Alan and I are just a couple weeks away from celebrating our 30th anniversary, while Josh and Kristi are almost to the one-year mark, and Joe and Abby are counting down the days until June 29th!!  :)

Yesterday at the close of our church service, a couple renewed their wedding vows. It was a very moving ceremony! Our pastor pointed out that when they first made their vows to one another 25 years earlier, promising before God and witnesses to: {forsake all others and to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live} that they really weren't thinking much about the sick and poor parts. Like any other couple in love, they were only thinking that their dreams had come true and they were looking forward to living "happily ever after." They had no idea that cancer would crash their dreams, forever altering the course of their lives together. (Of course, this reminded me of my parent's marriage and my post from last week!)  

That whole part about "in sickness and in health" and "for richer or poorer" - well, those are just words that nervous brides and grooms repeat after the minister. Most couples don't think they will really be called to suffer through sickness, poverty, and heart-wrenching times when they stand at the marriage altar. We've all watched plenty of Disney movies and we know how it's supposed to work -- when the prince finally gets the beautiful maiden, they ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after in wedded bliss! 

Because we go into marriage with a "happily ever after" mentality, we expect our mate to make us happy.  Women especially tend to fantasize that all of our problems are solved, now that our Prince Charming has rescued us from a Cinderella life of drudgery and difficulty. However, it doesn't take long for our fairy tale bubble to burst, and our Prince Charming to fall off his white horse!  When we discover that he is a mere mortal after all, and perhaps one that we don't know as well as we thought we did, and that married life involves hard work and still contains its share of difficulty and drudgery, we may find ourselves turning into a "wicked witch!"  ;)  The fairy tale is over.

For many modern couples, this is where they bail out. Others stick it out, but many never recover from seeds of bitterness caused by unfulfilled expectations in the early years of marriage. 

Perhaps, we would be better served if we understood that God didn't create marriage for our happiness. Although we may certainly experience much happiness in marriage, God ultimately created marriage to display His glory and to illustrate the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church. 



The most ultimate thing we can say about marriage is that it exists for God’s glory. That is, it exists to display God. Now we see how: Marriage is patterned after Christ’s covenant relationship to the church. And therefore the highest meaning and the most ultimate purpose of marriage is to put the covenant relationship of Christ and his church on display. That is why marriage exists. If you are married, that is why you are married.
Staying married, therefore, is not about staying in love. It is about keeping covenant. “Till death do us part,” or, “As long as we both shall live” is sacred covenant promise—the same kind Jesus made with his bride when he died for her. Therefore, what makes divorce and remarriage so horrific in God’s eyes is not merely that it involves covenant breaking to the spouse, but that it involves misrepresenting Christ and his covenant. Christ will never leave his wife. Ever. There may be times of painful distance and tragic backsliding on our part. But Christ keeps his covenant forever. Marriage is a display of that! from John Piper in Marriage, Christ and Covenant: One Flesh for the Glory of God

Understanding this truth helps couples, whether newlyweds or silver-haired veterans, realize that marriage is not about self-actualization, but about dying to self.  It is actually a part of our sanctification, whereby we become more like Jesus. As we learn to lose our lives for Jesus' sake, we actually find our lives (Matthew 10:39), and may discover that joy and happiness are within our reach after all. 



Your Turn to Share:

Did you enter into marriage with a biblical view of marriage or a fairy tale view? How did this affect your relationship with your husband? How does embracing a biblical view of marriage make a difference?  Please share so we might all be encouraged!


If you were blessed or encouraged by this post, please consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook or other social media sites.  Thank you!


Link up:

I'd love to have you link up your blog to mine!  Please link up any past or present posts related to Christian marriage.  Don't forget to link back to my blog!  Thanks!



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Blogs I link up with from week to week:

Happy Wives Club






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The Alabaster Jar











Marriage Moment



What Joy Is Mine





Growing Home


















Courtship Connection













































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Wise-Woman-Builds




Missional Women








Monday, April 22, 2013

Marriage Monday: The Secrets to a Life Long Marriage {Link up}


Marriage Mondays



Welcome back to Marriage Monday! I'm writing today from my parent's home in South Carolina! It has been nice to escape from the hard work of moving and be here with them for a few days!  ;)

If you missed last week's post, I talked about Loving Our Husbands during Stressful Times, such as a move!!  If you missed that post, you might want to check it out!  Let's face it, we will all endure trials and times of testing in this life, so it's good to be prepared for how to respond to one another when a crisis hits!

Today, I decided to share some insights on marriage from being here with my parents, who have been married for 52 1/2 years! They have had their share of difficult times, including a period of separation in their early years together (when they were advised to divorce!), times of intense suffering and debilitating illness, and many years of living together "unequally yoked."  (To learn move about that, check out the series of posts that my Mom wrote for me on Living with an Unsaved Mate.  I know you will be blessed by her testimony and words of encouragement!!)


May 2010

As I think about my parents and their marriage, I've been pondering what it was that kept them together through the years. When I asked my Dad that question he quipped, "Lots of sugar!"  ;)  Then he added, "If you marry a sweet woman, you've got it made!!"  :)  Ha ha!  :)


Thinking about his off-the-cuff comment, I'm sure that lots of "sugar" is definitely one secret to a happy marriage! ;)  I also think that having a sense of humor is key!  Learning to laugh at ourselves, at life, at the antics of our mates -- that must be one of the secrets to surviving many years together! Even the Bible says that laughter is good medicine!  And believe me, you'd have to have a sense of humor to live with my Dad!!!  :)

The main word that comes to my mind as I observe my parents, however, is commitment.  Being committed to each other and to their marriage vows, regardless of circumstances - that's huge!  Commitment is something that seems to have gone out of style along with poodle skirts and penny loafers.  Many of the people I observe lack commitment in their marriages, in child training, in their jobs, in the church and in their relationship with Christ.  When the going gets tough, they always look for greener pastures.  

An offspring of commitment is choice.  When it comes right down to it, love is a choice.  My parents made the decision to love one another regardless of how they felt at any given moment.  Marriage is not always fun. Living with another person day after day is not always easy.  Life is not always "happily ever after."  But my parents made the choice to love through the good times and the bad!

My Dad has demonstrated his commitment to my Mom during years of illness, both in their early years when she had reoccurring bouts of rheumatic fever that kept her bed-ridden for months at a time, and in her later years when she was diagnosed with MS, and even now as she struggles with severe stenosis of the aortic valve and lives out her last days with much pain and weakness. It is a blessing to watch him care for her so tenderly! 

Likewise, my Mom demonstrated her commitment to my Dad by loving him and honoring him when he did not know or desire to serve the Lord for the first 20 years of marriage. It was heart-wrenching for her to endure years of a divided home where they served two different masters, but her commitment to God and to her marriage vows enabled her to love my Dad and pray for him as she awaited that day when God would save him!

My parents have overcome many obstacles because they both chose a life of love and commitment to each other and to God.  In the process, they have grown closer to each other and have become more like Christ, and their lives are a blessing and testimony to all who know them!

I'm praising God today for my precious Mom and Dad and the godly heritage they have given me!  I'm also reminiscing about the fun we had at their 50th anniversary celebration two years ago!  Click here to watch the slide show I made for them and see glimpses of their fifty years together!

http://www.yestheyareallours.com/2010/07/celebrating-50-years.html



Your Turn to Share:

What do you think the secrets are to a long and lasting marriage?  What have you learned about marriage from the successes or failures of your parent's marriage(s)?  What are you teaching your own children about marriage as they observe the relationship that you and your husband live out before them?  Will they want to emulate what they see?  Please share so we might all be encouraged!


If you were blessed or encouraged by this post, please consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook or other social media sites.  Thank you!


Link up:

I'd love to have you link up your blog to mine!  Please link up any past or present posts related to Christian marriage.  Don't forget to link back to my blog!  Thanks!



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Copy and paste this code to add my blog button to your blog:

 


Blogs I link up with from week to week:

Happy Wives Club






Photobucket


The Alabaster Jar











Marriage Moment



What Joy Is Mine





Growing Home


















Courtship Connection













































TLHV button


Wise-Woman-Builds




Missional Women








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