It feels like I've been on radio silence since the first of February. But I promise, there was a legitimate reason. Several legitimate reasons, in fact.
First off, Frank and I flew to North Carolina to speak for a couples' retreat. Our lifetime friends, Pastors Buddy and Cheryl Denton were hosting the event for their church in Askewville, NC. We stayed together at the beautiful river home of a friend in their congregation. The cold weather was a treat for these FL hearts.
We really do enjoy participating in marriage retreats because we see such wonderful fruit. We share stories that help couples laugh together and finally realize, "Hey! We're not the only ones who struggle with these questions."
Of course, every speaker worth their salt knows, you teach best out of your own experiences/ victories. And there never ever has been a victory without a struggle. Which means, your own marriage is going to be tested before you're allowed to teach others. Are you tracking with me?
Yep. We love speaking for marriage retreats but we're well aware of the price that must be paid for that privilege. No matter, the fruit is always worth the effort.
|Teaching at the Retreat|
|Lifetime Friend, Cheryl Denton|
|Frank and Mom Hawley|
|Adopted Daughter, Amanda|
|Teaching 8 times in 3 days made for weary travelers|
Then February is birthday month in a BIG way with our family. First off, it was the NINTH birthday for this guy - none other than Spencer Matthew Schreck! He is the one who MADE us grandparents. What a treasure this kid is to us all.
Spencer gave me a hug on the Sunday before his special day and announced, "Noni, you will have a nine year old grandson in just three days!"
I returned the squeeze and lovingly corrected him, "Yes, your birthday is just around the corner. Papa and I are so excited. But you're turning 8, Sweetheart, not 9." (Silly little fella trying to rush it.)
He looked me almost directly in the eye (he will be taller than me soon) and set things straight. "Noni, I'm 8 right now. I'll be 9 on Wednesday!"
It almost took my breath away to realize he was right! Oh, my how time flies.
Then, five days later it was time to celebrate the girl who made us parents. Kristin made her appearance during the middle of a snow storm when we lived in the Asheville, NC area. We've always been thankful for the semi-truck that slowly plowed the way for us to make it the 30 miles to the hospital. We were the only two vehicles we saw on the road that night. What a gift!
|Kristin, Cody and Parker|
Kristin is now a happy mommie taking care of her own little family. She serves alongside us at Garden Grove Church helping with everything from music to toddlers to administrative details. Frank and I aren't real sure how we were chosen to enjoy all our children and grandchildren living in the same location. But we know it is an unusual GIFT. And we grow more grateful every day.
Finally, today is the birthday of the lady who made me a sister. Vonnie turns double nickels today and is still the cutest blonde around. This picture was taken during our first ever "sister getaway" this past summer. It may have been the first but we certainly hope it won't be the last.
|Mom always called us "Chocolate & Vanilla"|
In between all this travel and celebrating, we've started new connect groups at our church. We've held multiple meetings, attended the funeral of a dear friend, made hospital visits, gotten our house ready for a special visitor. And tonight we'll marry a lovely couple and attend their wedding dinner.
Life is never boring, that's for sure!
I want to leave you with a scripture that has become especially powerful for Frank and for me. This particular promise is recorded in The Passion Translation. Psalm 139:5 "You've gone into my future to prepare the way and in kindness you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With your hand of love upon my life, you impart a blessing to me."
Isn't that a splendid thought? As we choose the path God has laid out for us, He goes ahead of us preparing the way. He protects us from the past and His hand of blessing is resting on us.
I hope this verse speaks to you as it has to me. Have a Blessed weekend!
How about you? Is there a particular month that has lots more birthdays for your family? Have you been caught off-guard by the birthday of a grandchild? We'd love to hear about it in the comment section below.....