Monday, December 15, 2014

Overflowing hearts....They Came!!!

Our hearts are full of thankfulness during this joyous season! I have so much to tell you about the last few weeks here in Charleston....Let's start with the week of Thanksgiving-

That Tuesday both Caleb and Noah's classes had "feasts" where families brought in different dishes to make one big Thanksgiving meal. It was very special  to get to eat lunch with my boys and their classmates. Since Emmie is only in school until 10am each day, she got to come too. We all had a great time....

Later that evening both of our families arrived! We were so excited to be welcoming my parents, Zack's parents and sister, Erin, and Zack's college roommate and his wife Megan and daughter Ellie to our home for Thansgivimg. Zack's family made it in time to attend an annual Thanksgiving meal at Summerville Baptist Church, the church we have been regularly attending. Since I have written about the church many times, I thought maybe you would like to see a picture of it....

The Thanksgiving meal was very nice, and reminiscent of the community Thanksgiving meal back home. I find that every gathering we attend at our new church is very bittersweet. Sweet because we are slowly becoming a part of a loving church body, but bitter because it only reminds us of the church body we left in London, and how much we miss and love them all. It is a very slow and hard process, the process of developing new relationships and friendships, but we feel confident that Summerville Baptist is the church where God is leading us.

Wednesday John and Megan Adams and their sweet daughter Ellie arrived. John and Zack were college roommates and best of friends throughout their college careers. They stood as each others "Best Man" in their weddings and even though they only see each other maybe once a year, they are always able to pick up right where they left off. It was such a blessing to have them in our home. Megan was able to share with me about her experiences moving to new places, as John is in ministry and they have experienced moving a couple times. It was so refreshing to hear Megan, a beautiful and Godly woman, share about her struggles and victories in moving to new town (Norfolk, Virginia) where they knew no one, just like us :) God truly used her to refresh my spirit throughout our visit.

 Being able to open our home to our family and friends was such a blessing and just what we prayed for when God gave us the opportunity to buy our home in Charleston. This week we are having some work done that will add a shower to an already existing half bathroom, and will make the makeshift guest room into an actual pack your bags and come and see us!!

 I have been promising some pictures of the inside, so here are a few. I want to thank both our parents for their help with the work that we have done to our house. They have helped us paint, change light fixtures, made curtains, cushions, strip wallpaper, and moved lots of furniture. For those of you who know our track record with buying, renovating, and selling houses, this home has required the least amount of work than any of them, and we are thankful for that :)

 Thanksgiving night we went to James Island County Park, our family's favorite park in the Charleston area. During the holiday season they have a Festival of Lights...kind of like Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park, and I hate to say it.....but this one is much better! The light displays were just breathtaking, and they had lots of other fun activities, shops, and just an overall wonderful holiday atmosphere. Everyone had a great are some photos from our visit:

Zack's family and John and Megan left Friday morning. My parents were able to stay until Saturday, and an added blessing was that my mom stayed until the next Wednesday and helped me paint our master bathroom and kept me wonderful company while Zack was out of town for work. Our bath had been covered in some very bright floral wallpaper. It took me and Emmie ( Caleb and Zack helped some too....all were great helpers!) about a week to get all the wallpaper, backing, and remaining glue off the walls. It didn't help that in some areas the ceiling height in our bathroom is over 12 feet! It was a challenge, but our hard work paid off and it looks great now. 

 I just have to say that I have such an awesome mom. She rented a car and drove home all by herself Wednesday morning. I couldn't have done this project without her help. We had a great visit together, and I miss her and my dad so much.

This past weekend we celebrated all three kids birthdays with one big party. Now let me just say, Zack and I were very skeptical about having a bday party for them in a town where we have only lived for just a couple months. Of course the big question for us was "Will anyone come?"  The boys had two to three friends from church they wanted to invite, and about the same in their classes. Emmie had fewer, as she is much shyer and it takes her time to "warm up" to new people. We sent invitations and were quite excited when a few parents called with their RSVP. But as the party got closer, I still wondered if they would come. Then, the day before the party, three more people sent their RSVP!  At the beginning of the week, the weather channel was calling for 60% chance of rain for Saturday. I told the kids we needed to pray and ask God to please let us have a rain free day so our friends could enjoy being outside, and the new trampoline Nanna and Papaw had bought them.  A couple days before the party, the weather forecast changed to only 20% rain, with temps near 75! Even the locals said that the temperature was unusually high for this time of year! Well, the day turned out to be beautiful, and even more kids came than RSVP!!! We were blown away, and so thankful for our children having people that cared enough about them, even in such a short time, to come to a birthday party in the middle of a Saturday during a busy time of year. People actually came :)

Another cool thing about this birthday party was that it was the most diverse birthday party we have ever been a part of, which we feel very blessed by. We had different ethnicities and faiths, all gathered in the same place. One of Noah's friends from school that came is of the Islamic faith. His friend's mother and sister visited longer than the rest of the parents, and I was able to listen to some of their life story and share mine as well. Despite our differences in faith, we had many similarities in our lives, and I truly hope that we can get to know their family at a deeper level, and that the love of Jesus will shine through in all we do and say, in every interaction.

Here are a few pics of the fun day:

In just a few days, we will be heading home for Christmas for almost a two week stay!! I am soooooooooo excited to see everyone and be back home in little London :) I am grateful at the way that different events have lined up while we are going to be home. While we are at home, the kids are going to be able to attend a birthday party, I am going to be able to see many, many sweet friends at a few different Christmas parties, Zack and I are going to be able to attend the annual tacky sweater party, and we will be able to attend First Baptist and a service with my parents. God is so good and we are so thankful that for this season where we can celebrate the love He showed to mankind by sending His Son to earth.