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We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Just a Trip to NC

Just to forewarn you, this is going to be a long blog. If you aren't into stories that are detailed and dramatic, stop reading now! I have decided that in attempt to chronicle our last trip as well as get some cheap, much needed therapy to help me get over the last few days, I would share all of this with you. Enjoy!

It began with my husband's admonition to go to North Carolina the weekend before Christmas. To this very minute I have absolutely no regrets about choosing to go. This is just where it all started. I agreed that missing a good friend's engagement party and meeting her future husband would be regretful. Being the brave, too-big-for-my-britches gal that I am I loaded the boys and myself into the van along with Christmas gifts to share and headed out. We left at 5:00a.m. and made it to Wilkesboro by lunchtime. The only thing to report about the departing trip was the unfortunate fate that awaited a squirrel trying to decide whether or not to cross the interstate halfway between Lexington and Huntington. We were greeted in NC by family and crammed all we could into the first half-day.

This is Elijah's invention, bread on a fork!

Sunday began with time at church, running into old friends, and then a visit with my aunt and uncle who traveled from Clemmons. It was my brother's 18th birthday and we of course had some cake to celebrate.

Dad and Chelsea, getting some cake~

Elijah warmed up to my uncle Jeff while watching "Horton Hears a Who"

Then, the engagement party. It was so much fun to be reunited with friends and parents of old friends, many of whom I had spent nights sleeping over, watching movies, and, well, growing up with in middle and high school. The highlight was of course seeing my friend Devon and meeting her fiance Jeff. Expectation of marital bliss was oozing from the both of them and it was clear that he adores her. I was so happy to have a few minutes to talk to them both. Then the craziness began. In the middle of conversation with Jeff, I felt my throat swelling. For those of you who don't know this about me, I have a severe tree nut allergy. I had eaten a corner of a brownie that wasn't plain as I had thought, but had some type of nut. In my lifetime, this has happened many many times. It has been the source of many trips to the ER. There are times, though, when benedryl is all I need. I quickly excused myself for a minute and took a dose of benedryl and tried to rejoin the party. Very soon thereafter, I realized that the benedryl wasn't working. I took another dose and headed to my parents home. Needless to say, around 30 minutes later I found myself in an ambulance on my way to the ER. (No pics of the party... I left in too much of a hurry...)

Hindsight is pretty amusing though. When my parents first started searching for some help by way of neighborhood friends that were first responders, I found myself confronted by highschool kids (also Chelsea's X... if you know what I mean) rushing into their house with oxygen tanks. Then, when 911 was called, every first responder within a 15 mile radius- some of whom were old acquaintances- came rushing in as well followed by the EMS. It was quite a production. The boys were cared for by my loving grandparents and were distracted by Rock Band in the next room. Let me say assuredly that if you are in Wilkes County, know that if there is an emergency, help is readily available! I felt very taken care of:) EMS had my reaction under control in minutes and by the time I made it to the ER, I was already recovering. Of all the scary experiences with allergic reactions I have had, this was one of the most memorable.

I returned to my parent's home before midnight to a sing-along in their living room with my aunt, cousin, and friends. Thankfully due to all the medication, I slept great that night and felt rested the next morning. The boys and I drove to Micah's family 45 minutes away. I really enjoyed our time together and so did Andrew and Elijah. They got more gifts and even a really cold ride on Micah's Dad's new John Deere tractor. It was also good to see my little nephew, Caleb and how much he has grown!

Nana and her grand-boys.

Aunt Amy and Elijah became good buds as well on this trip.

Then Tuesday came- our departure day. I was pretty groggy coming off all the medication I had been on by this time, but was anxious to get home to Micah. With a jump start of caffeine, we left around 1:30 p.m. and the drive was easy through beautiful Fancy Gap. The boys slept most of the afternoon and watched movies the rest of the time (travel DVD players are a fabulous invention!).
We made good time until we reached west of Charleston, WV. Around 6:00, we started seeing accidents on the interstate. First one, then two, then three, then four and five. Traffic finally came to a halt in Huntington. We sat on the interstate for about an hour when I decided to inch over and exit at the next ramp a few yards in front of me. I called Micah and decided to be really smart and take a road parallel to the interstate until I could find an unblocked exit ramp. I had a pretty good plan, and I had Micah on the phone with me helping navigate.

After going as far west as I thought I could, I headed back toward the interstate. I stopped short of the ramp on a bridge headed uphill a few yards from the exit ramp. I could see I-64 traffic in both directions from where I sat still completely stopped. What was the problem you may ask? I wondered the same thing until I opened my van door, stuck my foot out and slid on a think layer of ice on the bridge. I flagged down a passing police officer who informed me that the entire interstate through Lexington, KY was closed. The boys were getting restless, Elijah had a leaky diaper, and no one had had dinner. We finally made it with the help of another officer to the exit ramp headed back east hoping to make it two exits where there are hotels. We went one mile, then stopped again. I think this is when God just picked me up and carried me. It is a blur-waiting and waiting, creeping along the interstate, checking in at a hotel in the freezing rain, making three trips to the van to get all we needed for the night, eating snacks from the van and hotel vending machine for dinner, and finally lying down to sleep. I was so thankful as I rested that we weren't involved in any of the multiple traffic accidents around us. As much as I had been frustrated with the way the drive had turned out, I was quickly reminded that it could have been much worse.

The next morning, the boys and I enjoyed breakfast at the hotel. They thought our stay there was so much fun. I rode them around on the luggage cart and they thought the indoor swimming pool was especially cool. We left fairly early and arrived safely in Louisville just after lunch. The trip was over. Praise the Lord for safety, family and friends, medicine and EMS workers, and the everyday help of my husband which gives me strength and stamina for tough situations.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Childs Go To the Theater

Micah's Christmas gift this year included tickets to see Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. We saw them at the Brown Theater in downtown Louisville on Dec. 6. There are entertainers in the music biz and then there are musicians. These guys are incredible at both. Each member of the band could easily hold an audience captive going solo. Together, they are incredible. No glamor, glitz, or sell-out attitude; just serious talent. It was also fun being in such an beautiful theater. They were joined by Tuvan Throat Singers from Siberia. Their sound is fascinating. My wish at the end of the concert was to have a few minutes to play around with Future Man's drum machine (the Drumatar?!?!)!
Tonight, Andrew and I had a date. We went to see Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" at The Actors Theater also downtown. He was such a little gentleman! He operated the elevator for Mommy, held the tickets, and handed them to the usher as we entered. This was Andrew's first experience with live acting. We were three rows from the front, so he was up close and personal with the cast. The story line was intriguing to him. Afterward, he and I talked about the means by which God uses to show us the sin in our hearts as well as the life of loving each other that Jesus exemplified and calls us to as we discussed the storyline. He also learned a lot about being an actor and working in a theater.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Tiffany's Tracks

I know saying this is totally taboo, but I am not a morning person. I am truly a night owl. I am not lazy in the mornings, just uncreative and totally robotic. To help me out, I am in the process of creating a play list for my Ipod that includes a morning mix of songs that will help me awake with purpose and hope each day. Some of the songs I am including so far are Fill My Heart (Twila Paris) and May the Words of My Mouth (Christy Nockels and Janna Potter) from a lullabies CD called Sing Over Me. Some of my very favorite music from a Keith and Kristin Getty CD called O Church Arise. Andrew and Elijah love it as well; especially the parts about battle and swords. The words are below.

O Church Arise
O church, arise and put your armor on;
Hear the call of Christ our captain;
For now the weak can say that they are strong
In the strength that God has given.
With shield of faith and belt of truth
We'll stand against the devil's lies;
An army bold whose battle cry is "Love!"
Reaching out to those in darkness.
Our call to war, to love the captive soul,
But to rage against the captor;
And with the sword that makes the wounded whole
We will fight with faith and valor.
When faced with trials on ev'ry side,
We know the outcome is secure,
And Christ will have the prize for which He died—
An inheritance of nations.
Come, see the cross where love and mercy meet,
As the Son of God is stricken;
Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet,
For the Conqueror has risen!
And as the stone is rolled away,
And Christ emerges from the grave,
This vict'ry march continues till the day
Ev'ry eye and heart shall see Him.
So Spirit, come, put strength in ev'ry stride,
Give grace for ev'ry hurdle,
That we may run with faith to win the prize
Of a servant good and faithful.
As saints of old still line the way,
Retelling triumphs of His grace,
We hear their calls and hunger for the day
When, with Christ, we stand in glory.

Next I am going to come up with a middle-of-the-day play list that includes from the same CD, Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer when I need perseverance and an end-of-the-day list that reminds me that in Christ there is much grace in The Power of the Cross. For those of you who are interested, you can go to to read the lyrics and even hear samples of these songs as well. This music feeds the soul.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What We've Been Up To Lately

Micah and I took Andrew and Elijah (actually the boys and I took Micah) to the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort this past Saturday. We had a great time meeting KY authors and looking at their work. I especially enjoyed the photography books displaying the beauty of the Appalachian mountains. Micah had the best time, talking with historians and writers... and OF COURSE looking at all the BOOKS! Speaking of, did I mention that we have moved his library into our precious 900 sq.ft. apartment?!? Where you may ask? Well, everywhere!!!We needed to get them out of our damp storage space and now Micah feels like life as he knows it is normal again.

With an almost five year old a two year old, there aren't many quiet moment unless little ones are sleeping! There are so many funny conversations between the two of them lately. Micah and I just look at each other and laugh and laugh! We recently went to Longhorn Steakhouse for a late lunch/early dinner. The conversation turned to what we were eating. Micah asked Andrew what steak was made from and he quickly answered "cows!". Elijah quickly responded to Andrew's answer stating, "Not cows! Snake!" Our two year old thinks we eat snake. The next question was, naturally, "What animal are fries made from?" of course. Elijah didn't have an answer for that one.

I rented "The Pirates Who Don't do Anything" for the boys and they have been singing the theme song over and over as well as sword fighting with anything sword-worthy... for example, vacuum cleaner hoses, crayons, etc. Really anything will do when you are in a pinch for a sword. Here is a video of Elijah singing the theme song. Enjoy!

We are the pirates who don't do anything.
We just stay home and lay around.
And if you ask us to do anything,
We'll just tell you, we don't do anything!

Today, they are camping in their room. This is one of their favorite things to play, building tents, setting up sleeping bags, etc. Andrew and I just finished home school. Andrew is a great problem-solver. He has much of his mom in him; always believing there is a way to do anything... you just have to take the time to figure it out. He has successfully learned to write his letters up to "K" and is doing great with phonics(with help from Nana); even sounding out a few words and simple sentences. Elijah does phonics right along with us. He speaks with a "w" for a "r" sound, so I especially love when he says, "pa-pa-peaw" instead of "pa-pa-pear". Cute little baby talk seems to fade fast so I intend to enjoy it while it lasts.

Today during art, Andrew drew a great turtle and he wanted to share it with you as well.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Superhero & Princess Night

Chick-fil-a hosted a night for kids and adults to dress up for free food. The boys decided that Peter Pan was a good enough superhero for them! They both looked so cute. They were just disappointed that their costumes didn't also allow them to fly!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

True Woman Conference

I was so privileged to be able to attend the True Woman '08 Conference with other ladies from my church this past weekend. I am so appreciative to to Micah for making all the arrangements and for Martha (Nana) and Mary for taking care of Andrew and Elijah while I was gone.

I have thought a lot about how I was going to write about this event. To be honest, I was unaware of the sincerity of the theme until the last day- last morning session. From what I learned from the speakers, back in the 50's there was a similar conference held in Chicago, attended by a number of women who embarked on an organized, militant attempt to show bitterness and anger toward men for the way they had been treated by them in the past. Let me make this first disclaimer- Women asking for equal rights has seemed entirely appropriate to me. I am aware that women were in some ways responding to true abuse at the hand of men that showed contempt for God's design for them as husbands, fathers, etc.. The ways women had defined themselves before this time wasn't necessarily biblical either, focusing on being domestic divas, controlling their husbands in different, less obvious ways. This campaign took on an equally sinful form, thus also skewing God's design for womanhood. I am still having my eyes opened to the results of feminism in my own life. The subtle ways it has shaped my perception of who I think I am is fascinating to me. Anyway, it was a momentous event; 6,000 women embarking on redefining womanhood based on the instruction of God's word.

I thought I might share from each speaker what I took away personally.

John Piper began the conference with a poignant, yet endearing message explaining how wimpy theology makes wimpy women. So much of what Pastor Piper says is worth noting, but I thought I would share his definition of a biblical woman and God's purpose for marriage.

"The ultimate meaning of biblical womanhood is a distinctive calling of God to display His glory and that of His Son in ways that would not be displayed if there were no womanhood."
I thought this simple, back to basics definition was entirely helpful and placed my identity at the center of God's purpose along with biblical manhood. Of course he fleshed this out through the lens of scripture. He then went on to talk about marriage and singleness. It was so good to be reminded that even before man sinned, even before God created anything, He had ordained marriage to show the relationship between His Son and His redeemed church.

I also appreciated many of the other speakers. The things I took away from them were as follows:

from Nancy Leigh DeMoss ~ I was reminded that my life is not my own and that God can be trusted as He knows all things with immeasurable wisdom and is most concerned with making my life a visible picture of grace.

from Mary Kassian ~ that you don't have to look like an ad for Brooks Brothers to be a biblical woman:)... and to be more aware of the ways the feminist movement has infiltrated our culture. Also, she again challenged me, along with Carolyn McCully to define womanhood the way God defines it in His word.

from Karen Loritts ~ to stop listening (my flesh) to myself and start talking (the truth) to myself. This lesson was particularly helpful to me practically!

from Janet Parshall ~ I remembered how much the story of Hannah in the book of 1 Samuel speaks to me in the remarkable testimony of a woman who trusted and honored the Lord above all. I am also reminded that my voice in not far from the ear of the Lord and how He is writing His story upon my whole life.

from Joni Erickson Tada ~ that my soul is not as frail as I would like to think and sometimes the not-so-lovely parts of me have to be painfully chiseled away. Also, I that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, even though my flesh is greatly affected by sin.

I was encouraged that as God "scripts" (Nancy Leigh De Moss) the story of my life and I respond to my lot and portion, may I be found faithful to the calling to honor the Lord in my womanhood by the grace and power of Jesus Christ.

I enjoyed the time I had to spend alone. This was the lake I walked around to get from my hotel to the conference center. It was such a beautiful part of the city. I think the best part of the whole thing was meeting precious women and getting to know them better from my church. The very best part was spending time with Cara!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Great High Priest

A couple of years ago, I was really struggling to find ways to involve myself in more formal opportunities to study God's word. Here lately, the opportunities seem endless! There is one recurring theme that seems to jump out of whatever study I am doing. It has been one of those things that I obviously need to pay attention to. Whether in Exodus, Hebrews, or studying the concept of God's sustaining and sanctifying grace, meditating on Jesus as my Great High Priest has been such an encouragement to me.

Last night during the Presidential debate, there was a statement John McCain made several times in regard to Barack Obama that stuck out. He said many times, "You don't understand". I have thought a lot about the context of his statement, promoting his foreign policy experience over Obama's lack thereof. As I contemplated the validity of this my brain left the Presidential debate and I was again brought back to my study of Hebrews; particularly Hebrews 4:14-16.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

It has been comforting and convicting for me lately to allow this to sink in. I have many times used "you don't understand" as an anthem to acquit myself of responsibilities before God in the way I deal with life. I remember thinking it as early as I remember thinking, that I wanted my way over what my parents asked of me because they surely didn't understand me. In school it really seemed to follow me into relationships with friends, as it drew clique-like circles around groups with the same understandings. Later on in life, it has brought sanctification and sometimes pain as trying to understand has seemed more important in maintaining and growing relationships with others.

It offers me much hope to realize that the King of Kings can sympathize with my weaknesses, whatever they are, and is interceding on my behalf in ways even I do not have the capacity to ask for. He is intimately acquainted with and desires the best for me in the most perfect way. My old excuse of "you don't understand" is obliterated in light of His divine human experience and perfect understanding.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Our Weekend

We have had a nice weekend of out-of-the-ordinary activities with the boys. This past Friday night, we took them bowling. They both did great- Andrew was able to hold the ball and launch it toward the pins all on his own! Elijah needed a bit of assistance. He was excited if his ball made it to the pins before the timer shut down our lane!
This evening, we spent two hours on the Ohio river with the staff of Chick-fil-a. Micah's boss treated everyone from both of his stores to desserts and a lovely evening on the Spirit of Jefferson boat. When the boys found out we would be going on a big boat, they were so excited. Andrew asked who would be driving the boat and I answered, "the captain", of course. Suddenly, Elijah's excitement turned to concern. He looked at Micah and I with his big brown eyes and said, "Captain Hook?". After a good laugh we assured him that Captain Hook was not in charge of the boat we would be on. We all enjoyed ourselves; the boys especially enjoyed the dance floor. We're not sure where Elijah has learned this hip-hop pose, but is was certainly a crowd pleaser.
As for a family update, we are taking things one day at a time. As some of you know, Micah decided it was unwise for him to continue school this fall. I am so thankful for him and his dedication to making decisions that are best for our family~ The Lord has blessed that decision so far. The answer to the question of where to go from here, well- We are the Lord's and we are going to continue to pray for the grace and strength to remain in His will, careful to enjoy all the moments of joy we are afforded along the way.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Within the Pain of Departing

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; stuck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life is in You.
2 Corinthians 4:7-18
In loving memory of Timothy Mark Shumate
December 5, 1967-August 20, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

State Fair Time Again!

We spent Monday, August 18 at the fair. The boys waited eagerly after purchasing advance tickets for the day to come. As always, we had a blast. Of course we visited all our favorite exhibits, except for the cows. It was closed this year during the afternoon we were there while the animals we're loaded up to head out. I was not too sad, being that it is by far the smelliest exhibit.

It was fun to see Andrew on the same kiddo-rides at Six Flags, but this year able to ride on his own and Elijah with Daddy.
Micah liked the goats, I liked the decorated cakes (the pork chop sandwich was a close second), and Andrew said he liked his bag of cotton candy. When asked what his favorite thing at the fair was, Elijah said "Da Da dance". You may think at first that Elijah was mistaken, but this year, prompted by oldies from the Newsboys in concert in the evening, Micah did dance. This, friends, is a rarity. I think for all of us, the time we spent at the concert was most enjoyable. The boys had never seen such a display and they responded with delight. I haven't seen the Newsboys since I was a teen. They have as much energy as ever and the drum-off between the drummer and lead singer was certainly memorable.

This is totally unrelated but I had to include this picture. Like many Americans, we are getting so much more sleep now that the Olympics are over! Micah and I would leave the TV on all night and if we were to wake up, we would even watch in the wee hours of the morning. We loved the racing. Here the boys are at the starting line of the Childs 10 yard in our hallway.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What We've Been Up To...

Driving to NC
Meeting Dad, Mom, and Matt for help in the middle of the trip
Seeing baby Caleb for the first time
Outings with extended family
Meals with Abba and Nana
Uplifting conversations with Dustin and Mary
Jars of Clay with Amy
Writing and recording with Matt
Shopping with Chelsea and Mary
Rock Band with them both
Making friends with Toby
Getting out our energy! with Papa and Mimi
Visits with GG and Great-Grandfather
Lunch with Jeff and Cindy, Dinner with Matt and Stacie
Seeing Daddy for the first time in over a week
Another trip to Knoxville, then up to Lexington, then home to Louisville

Summer coming to a close
Beautiful weather
Walks at the park
Racing tricycles in the parking lot
Sitting on the kitchen floor, Elijah in my lap, Watching cookies rise in the oven
Andrew conquering obstacles, Becoming more of a "big boy"
Both boys pretending to be superheros
New bed for Elijah
Adoring glances from Micah
Ice cream sundays with extra cherries

Amid the chaos of life, the sweetest moments arise.
Hopefully you see why I haven't written in a while.