Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas with Family and Our Travels

Hey all!
So, I’ll catch you up on our travels.
First we drove two days straight…no stopping! That was a LONG trip… We arrived at our grandparent’s home late at night, they greeted us on the porch. Their house was decorated in tons of Christmas lights, Santa decor, and everything Christmas. It was beautiful! We all decided to save the tour of the house for later and to instead snuggle up in our beds.

The next morning us ladies cooked breakfast with grandma, but not until we had slept in until an unreasonable hour. ;-) The rest of the day was spent catching up and relaxing.
A few days later grandma, momma, Sarah, and I woke up early to set up for Bekah’s surprise baby shower. It was so much fun! Bekah left with Jacob and momma that morning and by noon the party was set up at Victoria Rose tea house. Many friends and family attended the party so that they could congratulate Bekah and Jacob. Bekah and Jacob were completely clueless to what was going on so we had to explain a little bit. We all laughed about their surprise. It was such a beautiful afternoon!

Under a week to Christmas, we completed our last minute shopping and purchase all the goods needed for our Christmas Dinner. It has become a tradition to celebrate Christmas on Christmas eve. We started doing this because my father (who used to work for various trucking companies) could never get Christmas day off. Plus, my sister’s birthday is on Christmas eve and we wanted him to be there for it. We now own our own trucking company so his schedule is a little more flexible but we have kept the tradition because I am quite sure all the children would start a revolt if they were made to wait a whole 24 hours longer! ;-)
My brother, sister-in-law, and their baby –Gunner, arrived just in time to open gifts. Jed had just finished his route (he drives truck for our company and we didn't have a driver to take his place) and was able to pack and drive to California just in time. We were so glad when they all arrived!

We completed dinner, set the table, and enjoyed a wonderful time sitting together and chatting as we ate the delicious food prepared by our entire family. After we finished we all gathered in the living room. Before opening gifts we sang carols and read the Christmas story. Then my grandpa and brothers handed out gifts.  I loved seeing the surprise on my family member’s faces as they opened their gifts. We are all so blessed!

Just yesterday we visited my auntie Carol. I just love her! I had a little bit of a cold so I stayed in the house while my brothers and sisters ran all over their property. I think after the three hours of driving they had just a wee bit of energy to run off.  We spent and hour or so visiting with her before us children headed to the beach where we would later meet them all for dinner. The beach was great! I was so happy to see that there was not too many people (usually it is VERY crowded). There was a light breeze blowing and the light was reflecting off the coral blue water in the most glorious way! My first response was my goodness this is beautiful!!! Our God has created the most beautiful things for us to enjoy. 
I did not intend on getting wet. Maybe splash my feet in the water but I wanted to stay warm and dry. My brother-in-law decided it would be more fun to push me in though so my plans changed quickly. ;-) I then proceeded to splash through the water and race the waves with my brothers and sisters. By the time we packed in the car to head to dinner I was thoroughly soaked and we had a nice collection of sea shells.

 This evening finds me with a stuffy nose and a merry heart. The playing in the ocean was worth the stuffy nose though.
 Looking over the past couple of weeks I find myself saying “Thank you”. The Lord truly has blessed our trip! We still have a few more days before heading back to Kansas so I look forward to the memories we will make with my grandparents before heading home.
Have a blessed evening!
To God be the Glory.
Bethany Joy 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

NICU Journey

My mother and I drove to the hospital to visit a dear friend who had recently given birth to two of the most darling little girls. They were SO small! I loved visiting with my momma's friend and holding those sweet babies. It was that visit that made me want to visit the NICU again. I realized how many babies were in there that had no one to pray for them. It might seem silly but that is really the reason I wanted to work in the NICU. I wanted to hold the babies, love on them and tell them how much God loved them too. So I set my dream before the Lord and told Him that if it was His will I would LOVE to work in the NICU and pray for those little babies.
When my momma and papa announced that for our Christmas project this year each of us children would be given 100 dollars to donate to any organization of company of our choice. We also had to donate our time and then at Christmas time share about what we learned. My grandma doubled the amount and donated some of her money too so that gave me 200 dollars to give.
With my first $100 I got two gift cards and wrote a note to the mothers. I told the director of the unit that she could give them to who ever she wanted but I suggested two people that I thought could use it.
The first mother- I had seen her every single day I came in. I loved seeing her love for her child. It was so sweet.
The second mother- looked rather rough and maybe even a little unfriendly but as I was cuddling another baby I learned more about her. She LOVED her baby for starters and she was doing everything she could to give her baby a better life than the one she previously lived. It was so special to witness that.
The other $100 went to the director to spend on any supplies that the unit might need.

What did I learn?
Lots of things! I learned that there is always work to be done so set clear goals for yourself and take one bite at a time.
I learned that the people who work on that unit have formed a sort of family and it is amazing to be a part of that.
I learned that the hospital has a lot of code words for things...It was really neat to learn those! I will never hear a hospital speaker and think the same. Everything has a meaning and purpose! Haha..even if it sounds silly..
I learned that my grandma has a very hard job but she is one of the most loved people at the hospital.
I learned the importance of working as a team. Something we do as a family but I never realized how important it is to do in a work place too. When people were working as a team things just seemed to glide along smoothly but when people got grumpy or selfish it is all stop and go. Luckily, I didn't see to much of that though. Like I said, the people in that unit love each other! ;-)

So here are some pictures! I was allowed to take pictures of anything I wanted as long as it did not show anything confidential...made taking pictures of the babies hard (you can't clearly see any of their faces) but I still had a lot of fun!

I learned how the hospital warms the baby's milk too!

The nurses are constantly caring for these babies. They make sure each baby is as comfortable as possible.
I LOVED it when the babies would hold my was so sweet.
This baby is getting some "photo" it still means I can't take photos of it's face. haha!
I would sit and watch this screen each day I worked. I never was able to figure out what all of the different ones meant!
Time to eat! No body mess with these babies when they are hungry..not if you value your life anyways...they don't mess around when it come to food! haha..
Toes! So so so small! The smallest baby I held was roughly 3 lbs. She felt like a feather!
What does a cupcake have to do with the hospital? Well a lot! I found out that some of the world's best chefs reside in that hospital...well I don't know if they are the best but they sure now how to make good food! If I get sick, I am totally going to that hospital. ;-) I think this is a gingerbread cupcake.

So that's everything. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the NICU.
Have a beautiful day!

To God be the glory.
Bethany Joy

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The End of California Visit 2012

How did this happen? Time has surely flown by quicker than usual. I can hardly believe that my time visiting my grandparents is over. It has been such a blessed trip and I cannot thank God enough for everything He has done for me on this trip.
So, do you want me to brake down this trip for you? I think I shall!

I first flew into California with my mother and two of my little brothers, Samuel, and Daniel. Daniel was ADORABLE! He loved looking out the window and clapping his hands. I do believe he is the cutest 1 year old ever.

I don't know how anyone could look out the window of a plane to a view like this and say there isn't a God. He must exist. After all, a view like this couldn't have created itself ;-)

We celebrated my little brother, Samuel's, birthday while in California. It was a ton of fun and he even bought a fish named "Mr. Purpy". He really loves his fish.

While I was in California we visited several organic farmers to interview them. That was quite a bit of fun! We even went to a farmers market. I really enjoyed watching all the people search for their favorite goodies.

I also had the opportunity to visit with my cousins and go to Yosemite. Yosemite was just breath taking. Nearly all of the falls were dried up but it was still AMAZING! My favorite view of Yosemite is from the very bottom of the valley looking up at the majestic mountains. Ah, yep...thats the best view ever. And, I also got to take a bunch of pictures of a little fawn and a herd of deer grazing near the road. The fawn was just adorable! I have never gotten so close to a deer before so that was quite a treat! To see the rest of the photos from my trip to Yosemite (including that cute little fawn), go to: Rejoicing In Life Photography  

I also had the opportunity to volunteer in the NICU. I had an amazing time. I learned a ton and really enjoyed learning more about the people that worked there. I loved holding the babies while singing softly to them, praying for them, and thanking God for them. The time I spent in the NICU was so blessed. I really can't say thank you enough to God for that opportunity.
It is really my hope that I left there leaving hope and a lot of joy. Each of those people in there are unique and precious to Christ and I learned that they really loved working together and form a sort of work family. It was sweet to see.

I'll post more details about my time volunteering in the NICU later. It will have to wait for another post. It's a rather long story. ;-)

So, now I'll be heading home in just four short days. You can imagine the packing I had better do! Haha... I honestly have never been more excited to get packed into a car with a fish and my grandparents.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Be Still My Soul

There is this lovely little song that my baby brother, Daniel, loves to listen to. It is part of an albumn called "Lullaby Scriptures, Hidden in my Heart". It has actually become one of my favorite things to listen to. Often this song comes to mind as I am taking a walk through the garden or holding one of the precious babies in the NICU.
"Be still, my soul. Be still and know that He is God." I just love that. It always calms my soul to listen to this song and be reminded of the wondeful promises of the Lord. 

Nature has a way of bringing that song to mind... Maybe its the peaceful sound of the breeze, or the songs softly singing their song.
The babies living in the NICU have a way of reminding me who God is. Maybe it is that as I sit and watch them slowly drift off to sleep, I watch their eyelashes flutter, I watch their chest gently rise and fall, and I feel their tiny hand holding my finger, I have slowed down enough to let myself be reminded. I love those kids. I love that God has brought them into my life and that He is teaching me more about Himself through them.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Warm Cup of Tea

It was a chilly morning with fog resting on the hills and a light rain coming down. I decided that this called for a warm cup of raspberry tea. It's one of my favorite ways to spend a rainy day.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Little Things

It is important to me to take time to stop, listen to the music of life, take a deep breath in, and look around. What amazing things I find when I do this! God has given us such beautiful gifts each day if we simply choose to look for them. Often we do not have to look far.
I was rather bored one day. I had finished as much math as my brain could handle, I had cleaned the house, and I needed something to do while grandpa napped. So I decided to take my camera and see if there was anything interesting laying around for me to take a picture of. Much to my delight there was! You may have seen some of these pictures on my photography blog already but let me share with you what really made me interested in these photos.

Upon a glance this is simply a purple flower...but if you take the time to stop and look closely you will notice some very fine details. First, the vibrant orange pollen. Now look at the little bits of orange coloring in the center of this little flower... it makes the pollen "pop" a little more. And that lovely blue has a way of pulling more color out of those soft purple petals while the blurred green background sets the perfect stage to show case this little flower.

This vibrant yellow flower is just a puff of delight to me! The way it seems to capture the light in it's very petals amazes me. My grandmother tells me often, any garden with a dash of yellow is always the pettiest and I find that to be true. Yellow is a very cheerful color!

The white rose. Notice the traces of pink throught it's petals, the way the petals seems soft, and light seems to elluminate each petal. So much beauty and detal in each petal is what I see in this photo.

This is a from one of the beautiful trees on my grandparents property. The tree's branches are often completely covered in this pink fluff and makes for a beautiful thing to behold.  Look at the way the light hits the petals and how soft they seem in this picture.

Isn't it wonderful?! Look at how many different shades of pink and red are contained in just one flower!

The flowers in this photo are less than pefect, you can see the time and the hot summer have had their toll, and you can see a tiny creature working dilligently to provide its family with food for the winter. What I liked about this photo is that it reminded me of how fleeting life is and the words of James in the Bible.

What makes each of these photos important to me is how great our God is. I see God's handiwork in each of these photos and that is what makes them important to me. He thought about the colors blending together and how they would seem pleasing to the eye. He also thought about the importance of pollenating the plants and how we would need a little bee to help us out. He thought about the wonderful aroma of the roses and how their petals offer us many healing benefits. He thought about each and every single one of those things and so much more and I don't want to take it for granted.

Have a great evening friends!
To God be the glory,
Bethany Joy

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Volunteering @ CRMC: Day One

I started my day by reporting to Mrs. McCloudy, she sent me to Mr. Cruz, and from there I went to Ms. Rose, the unit clerk. It was a wonderful first day! I learned many things about the NICU that I hadn't known before, I learned how the doctors on the floor wanted everything done a certain way, I learned many little random facts about the hospital (for example, they don't like card board sitting around), and I got to see many precious babies. I learned that Ms. Rose has a sense of humor...quite a funny thing she is! She was great to work with. She made things easy to understand but kept things moving along. At the end of the day she was happy with the work that we got done and we both look forward to seeing each other again soon. 

I also got to learn more about their codes...All hospitals have "codes"  that they use to announce things over the intercom without disturbing patients. I remember my mother telling me about it when she was a nurse. Now I get to memorize each and every single one and the "plan of action" too. SO much memorizing! I also have to learn where everything is... The good news about that is that I will spend most of the time in one unit (the NICU) so I don't have to remember quite as much.

I met two other volunteers, both already knew each other because they attended the same medical school. Both were Asian and quite silly! We worked together for about 15 minutes before they had to leave for a class at their medical school. Almost the entire time they were giggling about something. Most of the time I couldn't understand what they were saying but nonetheless we enjoyed working together.  

My favorite part was when Ms. Rose and I were doing inventory and we went down to L&D (Labor and Delivery). The mommas there looked so sweet...holding their babies for the first time. The looks on their faces were priceless.

After I finished doing inventory we made some family care packages (with blankets, hats, and a note), some crib cards, and that completed my day. I was very thankful that everyone was so friendly and helpful. It made my first day very enjoyable. :-)

Thank you everyone for praying and offering words of wisdom and encouragement. I appreciate it! :-)

To God be the glory.
Bethany Joy

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rose Petal Blessings

It has been a wonderful week here in sunny California. My grandfather and I trimmed the rose bushes a couple weeks back and now they are covered in the most beautiful array of colors! Tomorrow the gardner will bring some fall looking flowers and plant them along the walk way. I am looking forward to seeing what he has planned. He has done a wonderful job caring for the rest of the yard.

Today, I was delighted to collect the rose petals that had fallen from the roses and set them aside for me to dry later. I look forward to using them for teas, tinctures, and balms later. I enjoyed playing around with the roses this afternoon and taking a few pictures.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A California update: Most Beautiful Love

What a blessed daughter I am! The life that the Lord has given me is good. Over the past three weeks I have had the most wonderful opportunity to be with my grandparents. I was supposed to be here caring for them however, they have been so well that I have not needed to do hardly anything to help them. I think the Lord has placed me in one of the most wonderful spots. Here in the sunny land of California, in the rather busy city of Madera/Fresno, I have the opportunity to sit and watch as my grandparents live their lives and unknowingly show the most beautiful example love. 

When my grandfather was in his hospital bed rather exausted from the hip surgery, my grandmother bent over and tenderly ran her fingers through his gray hair and whispered a sweet prayer of faith, love and healing. When she had said amen she told my grandfather that she loved him and then he replied in a deep but most sincere and loving voice "I love you too.." At first I wanted to take a picture of this most precious moment but before I could reach for my phone it dawned on me.. You can't capture such a love as that with a phone camera. This love has been tested and tried, it has gone through many battles and come out stronger and closer not only to each other but to their dear Savior. That moment I had te honor of witnessing is a moment I will forever cherish. 

Let us never take for granted the blessings He has given us. Lord help us recognize the blessings you scatter through our day. In hospital rooms, at our office, or when we are simply sitting on the couch resting, never take these moments for granted. 

To God be the Glory.
Bethany Joy

Friday, August 17, 2012

Catching up once again...

Life is always happening. It never stops. Never slows down. Instead it seems to fly by even quicker than we had planned. I love to sit and watch the livestock from the rocking chair on the front porch and just take a moment to breathe. Lately, it has been my favorite place to sit. Tonight I would like to just fill you in.
Lord willing, tomorrow evening will find my mother, Samuel, baby Daniel, and myself on a plane heading toward California. We are quite excited to take this trip and see my grandparents again. They are such a blessing to our family!
On Thursday I had the joy of doing a photo shoot with some dear friends. I just loved spending time with them and capturing photos of them together.
My rather playful puppy, Chloe, is still every bit in training. She is smart and beautiful and I believe she will make a wonderful service dog.
Miracle is quite well. He is maturing quite a bit and has started acting more like the trained and well behaved horse that I know he is.
Promise is every bit the baby. Bekah is excited to work with her while I am away. I am sure Promise will enjoy the change and love the attention. I am thinking she will be a great horse for dressage. She just has that "look".
Well friends, I believe that catches you up. I hope you have a restful evening.
To God be the Glory.
Bethany Joy

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Texas Trip

Well it looks like I have an awful lot of updating to do. We'll start with our trip to Texas.

We started our journey very early in the morning. I think it felt extra early because we stayed up rather late the night before. The bright side of waking so early is that we saw the sunrise before we pulled out of the driveway. It was breath taking!

We then drove several hours before stopping for breakfast.. It was so nice to stretch our legs for a minute or two. We were packed into the car so very tightly! It made for some very interesting and funny conversations.

After filling our tummies we packed ourselves back into the car and buckled up. Daniel and Josiah were my buddies for the trip. Daniel was quite some fun!

We met with our friends for dinner and then rested for the rest of the first evening of our trip... When we woke up early the next morning we packed everything up and started getting ready to leave. As we drove that day we saw many beautiful things!

When we arrived to our rental home later that evening we were SO happy. The trip was great but we were glad not to be in the car.

The house had many enjoyable traits...Like the play-set. It was so much fun to hear about Sanuel and Matthew's adventures as they played together!

The days leading up to the Reformation of Food and Family conference we did some sight-seeing. We went on the river walk, we visited the Alamo, we saw some breath taking caverns and even some pretty fish...

We then prepared for the conference. I actually forgot to take any pictures until the last day. The event was wonderful! We made many new friends. I look forward to the next time the Lord allows us to meet. It was such a blessed time of fellowship.

To God be the Glory.
Bethany Joy

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Preparing for Texas

Our family is now preparing to take a wonderful little trip to Texas for the Reformation Food and Family Conference. We are simply thrilled to be going! Are you taking any family trips this summer? It can be challenging to take long trips with a large family at times. I'd like to share some tips, tricks, and what we will be doing for our trip to Texas.

Our family likes to plan ahead. We have a list of snacks and meals for the trip. Any snacks have to be mess free. So things like baby carrots, beef sticks, crackers, apples, and fruit chews are all usually in our ice chest.

For our bags we split into three teams (you can split your "teams" how you like). Each team gets one large bag with all their clothes, under garments, socks, etc. They also get a zip lock with their tooth brush, tooth paste, and floss. Depending on the bag it will also have perfume, makeup, hair brushes/combs, or other essential items.

We continue with our teams until the trip is over. Each team keeps their section of the car clean as we are driving and each team stays together as we go sight seeing and travel around. We try to pair people up in groups that will make the trip go smoothly. For example, don't put the three loudest, craziest, messiest kids together. Split them up and pair them with older kids who can help remind them to keep clean and quiet when we are sight seeing.

Let the children bring along one - two toys that they might enjoy.

And that is basically what we will be doing for our trip to keep things organized. We will be taking a u-haul with us to make a little extra room in the car.

If you are taking any trips I would love to hear about what you do to keep things organized!
To God be the Glory.
Bethany Joy

Friday, June 22, 2012

CHEF Convention and Ramblings

The Lord blessed my family with the opportunity to attend the 2012 CHEF (Christian Home Educators Fellowship) convention. It was a beautiful and blessed  trip. Our family walked away from the event feeling convicted, refreshed, and encouraged. We met dear old friends and sweet new friends, we enjoyed sightseeing, wonderful food, and all in all an abundantly blessed visit to St. Louis Missouri. I hope these photos convay the joy we had while visiting such a lovely place.

The riverfront was such a beautiful area! I could have sat there all evening.

Daniel LOVED this group. He didn't care for them so much when they were holding him but the music made him dance
giggle, and clap his hands. It was precious!

The beautiful riverfront area. I really enjoyed the old looking buildings!

Is that not the most precious face you've ever seen?!

My brother Elisha sketching the beautiful St. Louis river front town.

Me walking down the brick sidewalks.
My gorgeous sister-in-love, Miranda Wood. Isn't
she lovely? I cannot wait to meet Gunner Knox Wood!

And that my friends completes this peak into our trip. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
To God be the glory.
Bethany Joy