Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fourscore and Ten

“For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.  The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.  Who knoweth the power of thine anger?  even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.  So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Psalm 90:9-12

This weekend I was able to catch a flight from Cincinnati (en route to our next meeting), and return to Denver for a special family reunion.  My grandfather turned 90 on February 7th, and nearly all of his family made the trek “home” to celebrate!  I thought of the verses quoted above because grandpa not only got his threescore and ten years (70), and the fourscore years (80) by reason of strength, but God gave him a bonus 10 years on top of all that!  I also think that my grandpa has lived verse 12 – numbering his days as he applied his heart to wisdom and the teaching of the Lord.

My grandfather married my grandmother on a short furlough from the Army in 1951.  He had been drafted for the Korean War, but by the time he was ready to ship out, things had slowed down and he never had to leave the US.  Grandma was saved during a Billy Graham crusade.  They returned to farming in Iowa and started attending the “local” Bible believing church seventeen miles away.  When Grandma wanted to be baptized, she and Grandpa met with the pastor.  However, the pastor turned his attention to Grandpa and his need of salvation.  God used the story of the publican and the Pharisee in Luke  18 to convict Grandpa of his need for salvation, and that day he accepted Christ as his personal Savior.

Grandpa's 90th Birthday
Still looking good – 64 years later!

Grandpa and Grandma have six kids here – Robin, JoEllen, Marty, Scott, Sherry (my mom), and Nathan.  Hope is in heaven.  Their family blossomed to include five spouses-in-law, twelve grandchildren, and now 16 great-grandchildren.  I truly trace my godly heritage (Psalm 16:6) to my grandparents (and how blessed I am to have Christian grandparents on both sides of my family!).  Much of the fam is still in Colorado, but we are spread from Wyoming to Texas, Ohio to Florida, and Uncle Nathan in Malaysia!

Grandpa's 90th Birthday (from camera)
We forged the tubing hill at Camp Eden, but while we waiting for the tubes to arrive, some of played King of the Mountain!

Grandpa's 90th Birthday (from camera)
Wesley, Bex, Kenny

Grandpa's 90th Birthday (from camera)
Henry and my Uncle Scott.  He was a natural with the babies!

Grandpa's 90th Birthday (from camera)
My heritage – and so glad that all of my kids have been able to spend quality time with my grandparents.  They are referred to as “Old Grandma & Grandpa” around here!

Grandpa's 90th Birthday (from camera)
FAVORITE!!!  This picture captures the youngest member of the Paul family, and the oldest.  It’s hard to see my Grandpa getting older, but I’m so thankful for all the time we’ve had together.  Grandma & Grandpa were always there when I was growing up – every piano recital, every birthday, and everything in between.  Now I know they are some of the most faithful to pray for us and support us as we head to the Bronx.  So thankful that deputation has brought us back to Colorado several times these last two years.  I love you Grandpa!

Grandpa's 90th Birthday (from camera)
My cousin Kyle & his little guy Carlos.  Kyle & Krista adopted Carlos through foster care, and this is the first time I met him.

Grandpa's 90th Birthday (from camera)
Selah, Kinsley, & Abria giving shoulder rubs to Pat (their Grandma), Cassi, & Sarah.  First time I met Abria & Sarah, too!

Grandpa's 90th Birthday (from camera)
Ali & Naomi.  It was nice to be togehter in person again.  Brian & Naomi were home for Christmas when Ali was about Henry’s age, and that was the last time I saw them.  They now have four girls and they were all very pleasant to be around this weekend!

Grandpa's 90th Birthday (from camera)   Grandpa's 90th Birthday (from camera)
Grandpa & Naomi :: Wesley & Henry.  Henry definitely made the rounds this weekend and got totally spoiled!

Grandpa's 90th Birthday (from camera)
Sisters – Robin, Jo, & Mom

Grandpa's 90th Birthday (from camera)
A bunch of the great-grands.  I had only met Selah before this.

Grandpa's 90th Birthday
We made a #90 out of pictures of Grandpa’s life

Grandpa's 90th Birthday
My cousin Cassi is a talented photographer and took family pictures of everyone. This was a cell phone shot, but I look forward to seeing all the other pictures!

Grandpa's 90th Birthday
It was nice to see my Aunt Mary again!  Henry sure enjoyed her doting, too!

Grandpa's 90th Birthday
These two.  They always could be found around Henry!  Lydia is the youngest and enjoyed the baby time.  She is my second cousin.  Emma was the daughter of staff at Camp Eden.

Grandpa's 90th
Cake!  The 80th birthday really had 80 candles on it.  This time Grandpa didn’t have enough air (literally) to blow them out, so we opted for number candles!

Of the whole lot of us, five families are in full time ministry.  Marty and his wife founded and run Whisper Mountain Camp in the mountains of western North Carolina.  Their daughter, Cassi, and her husband Shaun also work on staff at the camp.  My cousin Brian is an assistant pastor in Springfield, OH.  He was recently ordained.  Kenny (my brother) and Becky are the youth & music directors at a church in South Florida.  Kenny was also ordained recently, in December 2015.  Ben and I are on deputation to plant a church in New York City. (And Ben will be ordained before we get there – likely toward the end of this year).

Though the rest of my cousins, aunts & uncles, and family are not in vocational ministry, nearly all of them are members at Bible believing churches and have faithfully served the Lord over the years.

What a blessing to be together with all of my cousins (except one who lives overseas) this weekend!  The last time we were all together was in 2006 when Grandpa turned 80 and we had a surprise party for him.  There were only two great-grandchildren at that time.  As part of Grandpa’s 90th birthday celebration, we all sat around and asked questions about his youth and faith.  Cassi even recorded it (so we can get the facts straight later on…).  The last question asked was, “What one thing do you want to pass on to this group – your grandchildren and great-grandchildren – after you are gone?”  In about three and a half minutes (pretty short for Grandpa!) we heard the Gospel and how Grandpa desires each one of us to accept Christ.  It was so special to hear him give testimony to his faith!

Grandpa's 80th Birthday
Cousins 10 years ago – and only two great-grands!  That party was a surprise.  Michael, Nicole, and Ayaka are not in this picture.

Grandpa's 90th Birthday
Nicole, Me, & Cassi.  We were the only girl cousins growing up.  Now we have Ayaka, but she lives overseas and couldn’t make it.

Grandpa's 90th Birthday
cousins “back in the day” – That’s Kenny & Wes on the front row, left side!

I’m so thankful for the “fourscore years and ten” given to my grandfather.  And as the Lord continues to add bonus years to his life, I’ll be thankful for each opportunity I get to spend time with him here on earth.  Then I’ll look forward to praising our Savior together around the throne in heaven!

***Disclaimer.  I reserve the right to post a lot more pictures from this weekend!  Smile

Wordless Wednesday

Last week was a super busy one!  We finished a meeting in Missouri and began heading toward the east coast again.  Ben and the kids dropped me & Henry off at the airport in Cincinnati (at 430 a.m.) to catch a flight back to Denver.  Then they drove 13 hours to my in-laws in western Massachusetts.  Super Daddy!

Henry's First Flight  Henry at the Airpot
Henry in airport security, and waiting for our flight.

Henry's First Flight  Henry's First Flight
First flight!  It was one of the most gorgeous sights…flying into Denver (who was hiding under a blanket of snow) as the sun came up.  And it was the smoothest.landing.ever!

The occasion???

Grandpa's 90th
My Grandpa turned 90!!!  I was the only cousin who wasn’t making the big party (except one who is overseas), so Ben found me a flight!  We enjoyed spending the weekend together at Camp Eden in Golden, Colorado.

Grandpa got another fabulous birthday present…his birthday is Feb. 7th and he’s a major Broncos fan.  It was great to watch the Big Game in Denver, and to celebrate a Broncos win!  Henry had a little competition for Grandpa’s attention – Sadie!

Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday
Go Broncos!

I caught another early flight on Monday (5 am) to return to Newark, where I found my family again and we returned to our “home” for a couple of weeks. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Kids Were Here

Lots of little toys in our life!

Kids were Here
This rhino almost got Grandma when she sat down!

Kids were here
This GI Joe is holding onto the GPS for dear life!

Wordless Wednesday: The Kansas Version

We spent the last week in Russell, Kansas

Five Kids is a Handful
I got this great picture of all five kids smiling!  (Right before Nolan fell off the recliner!)

Five on a Couch
Have you played that game “Four on a Couch?”  We’ve got five on our couch!  Henry really enjoys watching a few minutes of movies with the kids.

Nehemiah on a penny horse
We walked to the grocery store on Saturday…for some chicken broth, and some exercise.  This is a normal NYC thing to do.  Apparently not so much in Russell, KS.  Someone pulled over and turned around to ask if we needed help or money!  (It was a little farther than Ben said it was…).  At the store we found “Sandy” – a dime horse ride.  She looked quite antique and the kids were thrilled that they could each ride alone (usually we double up to save a buck!).  While we were letting each kiddo have his turn, an older gentleman stopped us and said he used to ride the same horse in the 50s!

Playing Outside with Swords & Capes
We enjoyed a beautiful day and played outside…with no coats, but with capes and stick swords!  It’s amazing how much imagination is sparked by a cape!

Playing Outside with Swords & Capes

Playing Outside with Swords & Capes

Playing Outside with Swords & Capes
Sword fighting stance.  This one is my athlete for sure!

Playing Outside with Swords & Capes

Playing Outside with Swords & Capes

Twins in a 31 Bag!
Twins in a Thirty-One bag!  This quickly turned into a push-me-pull-me with straps around the neck, so we put it away!

Kansas Snowman
We were on the edge of a big snow storm.  The forecase kept going from 1-3” to 6-12” and everything in between!  We ended up with 3ish inches, enough of the wet heavy stuff to make a snowman!  Everyone helped with this one – Elaine rolled the top two balls, Liberty helped with the bottom, Nehemiah and Nolan found the sticks.

Kansas Sunrise
Up and on the road before sunrise.  But with nothing on the horizon, the sun sure shows up well!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

We’ve Got Our Hands Full

We are in the process of making an updated video presentation…since we will likely be on deputation for most of 2016.  One of the sections talks about how people are always telling us, “Oh, you’ve sure got your hands full!”  We get this comment multiple times a week as we travel.  There’s a lot of variations, too.  Like, “Are you married?”  Um, no.  We just take five kids grocery shopping together for the fun of it.  “That’s a nice day care you are running.”  Yeah, lady.  They are actually all my kids.  You get the idea.

We needed a new picture to illustrate our “full quiver” since Henry wasn’t in any of the old ones.  My mom snapped a few pictures last Sunday before church!

We've Got Our Hands Full
Someone is always making a face.  Or fish lips.

We've Got Our Hands Full
Elaine was in hysterics about something!

We've Got Our Hands Full
Focus, everyone!  Henry was obeying!

We've Got Our Hands Full
Yup.  Full hands.  And full hearts.  And tired bodies!

Omaha Zoo

We had such a fabulous time at the Omaha Zoo last spring that Ben scheduled another meeting in Omaha on this trip.  We arrived a day early and spent a much anticipated day exploring the zoo again!  Seriously…if your travels ever take you to, or through, or near Omaha, schedule a day to spend at this zoo!

Omaha Zoo  Omaha Zoo
The Kookaburra – I sang the Patch the Pirate song of the kookaburra to him.  He seemed unimpressed.  Elaine seems like part mountain goat sometimes…and Grandpa would be glad to know she spent a lot of time observing all the snakes!

Omaha Zoo
In the Dessert Dome!

Omaha Zoo
In Kingdoms of the Night.  I asked them to stand by the stalagtites and stalacmites.  In the process, Nehemiah ended up tripping (or getting pushed…not sure which) and hit his head on the rough rocks.  He has a purple-green knot on his forehead with a gash to show for it! 

Omaha Zoo
The sloth.  I thought he was cool.  Ben just did a Christian School chapel on slothfulness.  He found that the Hebrew word for sloth and sluggard really just mean lazy.  When they were translated to English, the metaphor was applied, because the sloth is himself lazy!  The old English word is sloth (long vowel) and just means slow.

Omaha Zoo
In Lied Jungle.  There are vines all over that the kids love to hand and swing from!  (No idea how the kid in the black jacket ended up in my picture, by the way).

Omaha Zoo

Omaha Zoo

Omaha Zoo

Omaha Zoo
The otters were pretty active.

Omaha Zoo
This frog was… orange!

Omaha Zoo
The baby orangutan.  We saw him as a brand new baby last spring.  He was a little more active this time!  Mom…not so much.  She seemed annoyed with his antics!  (I can relate sometimes!)

Omaha Zoo
This peacock would not leave me alone.  So I took his picture.

Omaha Zoo
A little blurry, but I loved walking behind my kiddos enjoying this day with Daddy!

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