Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Musical - Best Quartet Ever!

This is the best Quartet I have heard in a long while...actually the best ever! If you need a few minutes of encouragement during this busy season, take a look at these handsome boys!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Live Nativity...An Awesome Opportunity

Tonight Jason, Jacob, and I went to Lake Lanier Islands to participate in the annual Live Nativity that our church hosts. It was such a fun time and a great way to connect with people both in our community and from other cities and states.
Jacob was very excited because this was the first year that he was able to be a part of the drama team. He was given the role of a shepherd, which he fulfilled in a very sweet way, as you can see in the pictures. As we talked about it, we thought that Jacob's part in it made the scene even more realistic,since in Bible times boys Jacob's age probably did go with their fathers into the fields to shepherd the sheep. We know that David was a young shepherd boy, so it seemed even more authentic to me. (Of course I am a proud mother, so I am bound to have this opinion!)
I served in the hospitality tent, giving out free hot chocolate and visiting with those who came in to get warm. It is always great fun to get together with others and fellowship & serve. We were steady, but not overwhelmed and we had alot of fun meeting all of the different types of people that came along. I think the highlight of the evening for me came when a group of about 25 young men from a local drug & alcohol treatment home came in and chatted with us for about 15-20 minutes. I was so encouraged to hear how God is changing them and freeing them from the vicious cycle of addiction. Many of them shared freely about their struggles and the troubled homes they grew up in. A few of them mentioned that their fathers were also in treatment for the same issues. Obviously not every one of them will stay drug & alcohol free, but there is hope that many of them will and it was a blessing to see them making these changes now while they still have the opportunity to live long lives for Christ.
Once again, we set out to be a blessing to others and walked away instead extremely blessed ourselves and thanking God for the great things He does in the hearts and lives of His people! We are looking forward to our next opportunity to reach the people around us!

Things to Treasure this Season

Christmas is nearly upon us! It does not seem that it should already be December, but the calendar does not lie - no matter how much I wish it would!
Every year as the cold begins to settle in, I find myself wishing I were in the South Pacific somewhere watching a beautiful sunrise rather than this dreary, rainy time of year here in Georgia! However, I'm NOT there, so I have made up my mind that I will make the best of this season regardless. It's not that I don't like Christmas or even cold weather, it's just that having 5 little boys cooped up in the house more than usual generally does not have great results! We are so conditioned to being outside a good part of each day that winter is always an adjustment for me and the boys.
Each year, I really do try to look for the good in each season and something to enjoy while it lasts. So, I am reminding myself today that there are special things to do during this time of year. I thought others might benefit from a friendly reminder as well:
*Candles burning and making the house smell delicious.
*More time to cuddle up and read a good book together as a family.
*We can sleep later and still get everything done because we are not being drawn outdoors as much.
*Cookies baking and the warmth of hot chocolate and rich coffee...yummy!
*Celebrations with family & friends.
*A great time to watch a good movie...we rarely watch t.v. in our house, but on some cold, dreary days an inspiring movie is great!
*Time for handicrafts and projects - again, not being outdoors as much gives us a little more time to do something we have been putting off.

I am sure there are many other things that families do in the winter to pass the time in a memorable way, and if you have other ideas, I would love to hear them. But for now, that is just a few of the things that I try to take advantage of and use to bring joy and blessing into our home during the cold winter months.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Our Visit to the Creation Museum

A dream has come true for the Nave family...and alot faster than we anticipated! In the Spring of this year, we were blessed as a church to have Dr. Ken Ham visit with us and speak on the topic of Creation. During that time he shared about the Creation Museum near Cincinatti, Ohio and we immediately talked about visiting it in the future. Well, the future is now and we are here!!! How exciting to visit the beautiful campus and fabulous museum!
As we entered in, we decided to visit the Planetarium first. We were very much in awe of the magnificence and wisdom of our Creator as our minds struggled to comprehend the vastness of the Heavens! We learned about the galaxies, stars, planets, suns, etc...There was so much that I did not even know and it truly is amazing! Indeed, "the heavens declare the glory of God!"
After this we viewed "The Men in White". This was a well done and humorous presentation with great special effects! It was especially good for our 13 year old son as he was able to get a glimpse into a traditional science class and listen to a Biblically knowledgeable student challenge his "professor".
A highlight to our day was the opportunity for our boys to meet Dr. Ham and have a family photo made with him. What an honor to be able to meet a true Christian hero of our time, challenging secular humanism with the truths of Scripture! He is a very kind and generous man and it was a blessing to spend a few moments with him.
Next we walked outdoors to visit the petting zoo where we petted donkeys, baby goats, saw a large potbellied pig, and for the first time a zorse and a zonkey (no I am not misspelling was a donkey/zebra mix and the other a zebra/horse mix!) We also visited with a camel and some other barn animals! Of course the boys loved the animals and fresh air and the scenery was very pleasing to they eyes!
Later we toured the walk-through section...dinosaurs, Adam & Eve, Noah's Ark magnificently done, the effects of sin and disregard of the Bible clearly shown, suffering and sacrifice - all depicted with excellent quality! We were very impressed with all of it! It was wonderful!
As I sat in one of theaters I was overwhelmed with the joy of being able to bring my sons to a place that completely reinforces what the Bible teaches and does so with excellence! There are so many other museums that we have visited that attack our Biblical worldview at every turn, but today we were able to see realistically what the Bible teaches and our hearts and minds were stirred with God's truths!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Autumn has a nostalgic effect on me. Every year when the weather starts to cool, the leaves begin to change, and the evenings become shorter, I can't help but be reminded of years gone past. I am not talking about my years, but long years ago when people lived a much simpler life (in some ways) and autumn was truly a time of harvest for them.
I have always been an old-fashioned kind of girl, but even more so as the season of Fall goes on. I think about the lives I have read in stories, such as Anne of Green Gables or The Little House series...lives where people worked hard, knew an awful lot (despite lacking educations), and loved one another enough to pitch in and help when times were tough. Perfection I do not see in those stories, but a true sense of community and a devotion to Someone and something much bigger than themselves!
Being the dreamer I am, I can't help but imagine what it would be like to live a life such as the men and women in pioneer days. Of course, in my mind it is much more romantic than reality, but still I think there are some things that they understood that we have overlooked:

*The importance of family - People in days gone by desired to have large families and children really were considered a blessing and a gift from God. Obviously the hands were needed to work the farms, but it was more than just that! Fathers and Mothers understood the sacrifices and responsibilities in raising their children, yet they went about it with an attitude of honor rather than duty or obligation. Children, in turn, perceived their parent's love and commitment and genuinely respected them and regarded them as their dearest friends.

*Knowledge of the things around them - Knowledge "in those days" wasn't optional! It was a necessity. One needed to know how to make butter or milk, how to build their homes, how to care for their flocks & depended upon their knowledge and resourcefulness. I think about the things that I encounter on a day-to-day basis and how much I don't know about the very essentials! How to cook from scratch (completely!), how to sew or quilt, the care of land animals or the tending of gardens or flowerbeds...all of these things I have very limited knowledge on - and I can't help but feel that I have been cheated! With each new "convenience item" man invented, a little more of the knowledge of the things around us was stripped away.

*Dependance on God and each other - Almost all classic literature that portrays life in pioneer times naturally relates the foundation of the families and communities...God and His Holy Word! Over and over you will read of families who prayed together, fasted together, read God's Word on a daily basis together and not at all begrudgingly! Entire communities met together to hear the Word preached, to pray for God's forgiveness and provision, and spur one another on to good works and belief in God's goodness and mercy! There was this general knowledge of God's Word and His ways that knit communities together. Today there is all this talk about the importance of diversity, but somehow, in the name of diversity, concrete belief in anything wanes. It is rare to meet someone who fully believes one particular reminds me of the toothpaste aisle - there are so many choices, that when you leave the store you're never fully sure that you bought the best one! People's belief systems seem to me to be like this, a gnawing uncertainty in their hearts, regardless of the professions of their mouths. How refreshing it would be to meet men and women who truly believed and followed the words of Christ!

*Gratitude and Simple Joys - Oh, how often I catch myself thinking in the negative! And to think, I have the "words of life" (Bible), live in the USA, am married to a wonderful husband, have 5 very healthy children, am able to stay at home with them each day, lack no provisions, and on and on and on...!
What an ungreatful woman I can be! Just the other day as I was reading Anne of Green Gables to the boys, we listened as she repeatedly expresses her joy in the natural things around her (the blooming trees & shrubs, flowers, sunshine, etc...)And I think back to Christmastime in The Little House series - the children would receive a few pieces of candy along with some homemade gifts and were elated for days! Comparing that to my family today gives me this remorseful feeling about some of the ways we have adopted without giving them any thought. In just a few months we will celebrate Christmas ourselves, yet I am dreading the shallowness of it in today's society. What I would give to be able to start all over again and guide my children into the ways of thankfulness and simple joys!

Of course, I can't go on and pretend that there was all of this goodness without the bad. I know full well that life in those times was hard! I can't imagine the grief of losing children or a husband or wife, as many did to illness. The effort it would have taken just to get the meals on the table or the laundy done is beyond me! However, I still believe that there was substance to these people that is lacking today...there was belief! There was character and hope and the hard work to go along with it all! Somehow in these twenty first-century days of Fall I pray that the Nave household may experience a bit of it!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Children's Hour

"Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
That is known as the Children's Hour." begins one of my favorite poems. It is the sweet tale of three little children quietly sneaking up on their father to pounce upon him and smother him with their hugs & kisses...he lovingly relates this daily "ambush" of which he becomes the victor and ends in these sweet words,

"I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there I will keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!"

What a loving way to demonstrate the affection we have for our children and the importance of the "pause in the days occupation".
As I reflect this afternoon of the busyness of the past two weeks in our home, I am saddened that too aften the demands and activities of this world take me away from the real goals that God has laid upon my heart for my family!
Isn't that the way that it always is? It is so much easier to be carried away with the non-essentials of this life and lose focus of those things that truly matter.
I often times stay up way later than my family and as I sit in the quiet, dark house I think over the words we shared in the day and the things we did and many, many times I say to myself, "did that really matter?" I look at their sweet sleeping faces and any hardness of heart that I may have had melts away and suddenly life comes into perspective. Usually I vow to treasure them more and I pray for them & I commit that tomorrow a difference will be made more for eternity...but then comes the morning and soon after the distractions and irritations of our daily life and once again I make the mistakes I so despise and another day becomes the past.
Oh, how I long for the day when I will be able to walk away from those things that hinder me and turn instead wholeheartedly to what God has called me to at this time: to love Him, to love & cherish my husband and sons and to bring them up in His ways with joy and guidance! That is my prayer during these foundational years when my children's hearts are tender and turned towards me. Lord, may we seize the opportunities and let the other things wait!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Glimpse of Maturity

This morning I awoke to the sound of my son, Caleb, chatting away on the telephone! He never ceases to amaze me - he wakes up earlier & earlier every week! Well, thankfully he was only chatting with turns out he had decided to call his Daddy to talk since no one else was up yet!
Anyways, each person slowly began to stir and it never takes long before these little people want to eat! I told them I had to go & brush my teeth, but I would make breakfast after that. When I returned, Jacob & Caleb were already in the middle of a real man's breakfast...sausage, eggs, & the rest! Jacob had the eggs scrambled and seasoned and Caleb had the sausage frying in the pan!
Together, with a few questions to me, they successfully served us a delicious breakfast! As I sat at the table eating with them, it occurred to me that my children really are getting some of what I am trying so hard to teach them! They really WILL grow up and have the skills that they will need.
So often as day in & day out I pour my life into them (& all of my little speeches) I feel like I am getting nowhere and many times I have questioned: "Why am I doing all of this?"
But on occasion I am fortunate enough to get a glimpse into the men that they will one day be. It is like a veil is lifted, just for a moment, and I am able to see them in a different light. I am able to see that progress in being made and loving, compassionate men are being molded...slowly, but surely!
I am thankful to God that He gives me the grace to teach & love my children every day and that He takes my meager offering of service for Him and multiplies and uses it to grow & nurture my children. A wise lady once told me that mothering was very much like stringing at a time...but that at the end of the day you realized the string was untied at the bottom...all of your beads were gone and you would have to start again. I can relate so well to that analogy - each day over and over I do the same things and many days I feel that I have accomplished nothing! However, deep in my heart I know that truth be told I am raising up young men who will one day surprise me and become what I have always hoped...just as they surprised me this morning!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fall Days - We Love Them!!!

Well, it sure was a beautiful Saturday and we wasted no time in getting out and enjoying it! I knew before I got out of bed that the first place I wanted to go was over to Jaemor farms to do a little tree study and buy some apples & pumpkins and other fall goodies! So we all got ready to go and on the way I read a little to the boys out of Handbook of Nature Study on apple trees and also a little of Anne of Green Gables. Now I know that this is not a "boys book", but we are studying Canada right now and Anne lived there so we decided to read it anyways. I am so glad that we did because it is a wonderful story!
Once at Jaemor we asked for permission to walk around in the orchards and examine the bark & leaves of the apple tree. We were directed to a patch of Arkansas Blacks and even given permission to pick a few to eat while we looked. We noticed that on the tree, the apples have a dusty film, but with a quick rub they are immediately red and bright and they tasted wonderful! We also noticed rabbit droppings around the trees and we suspect the rabbits are munching on the fallen apples littered on the ground.
Once our tree study was over we headed in to buy a 1/2 bushel of red delicious apples and some other things to decorate our table with, like small pumpkins & gourds. Luke was my buggy helper and Jason & the other boys quickly found the boiled peanuts and a place to sit and munch on them. We always love our annual trip to Jaemor and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.
Afterwards we decided to drive on further North towards Helen in order to have a picnic and possibly visit "our spot". We knew that the tubing would be finished and that there are some nice picnic areas along the creek, so that is where we went and sure enough found a really nice spot. The sun was shining and the fall colors were really pretty with the wind gently blowing all of the leaves around. The boys wasted no time in getting their feet wet and wading around in the cool water. They always start out begging to "just stick our feet in" and end up wet to the waist. Oh well, that is whay we came here anyways, so we enjoyed watching them explore. Today was especially nice because our 13 year old, who is growing out of his child-like ways, allowed himself to relax and climb trees and wade along with his little brothers as well. I so want him to remain my little boy, and it touched my heart to see him having so much simple fun.
Of course we couldn't come this far without our trip to "our spot", a rope swing a few miles out in the woods along a nice little creek that we found a few months ago. The boys really have laid claim on it and it is so fun to see them swinging way out over the water with excitement on their faces and laughter in their voices! We stayed here quite awhile and Jason & the boys built a fire to warm their wet bodies, but pretty soon it was time to head home. The duties of life were beginning to call us, though faintly just yet. All of my wet, muddy boys climbed in the van reluctantly and off we went stopping to look at a few things along the way.
Now we are home and it is back to the familiar things we do every Sat. night - getting our church clothes out, preparing for the week, and off to bed. As I sit here & think of our day I am reminded of how blessed I am. Were I to try and count the ways it would take me all night. I am also reminded of how quickly time is passing and my prayer is that I would stay focused on what really matters and let the non-essentials fade into the background!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

No place like home....

Well, the old saying rings true, "There is no place like home". Jason and I landed at the airport around lunchtime today where his Mom met us in the parking lot with the boys. It sure was good to see their smiling faces and get a big hug from each one! It is always amazing how much they look like they have grown while we were away. As I looked into each sweet face, I thought "my babies are growing up!"
We drove home and soon got back into our normal routines. Ben had a b-day party to go to, I had unpacking, the others had friends to play with, & so on...even at bedtime, the same old routine is now in play. Caleb is complaining that Nathan is bothering him & Ben and Jacob are whispering upstairs instead of sleeping. It can be a crazy life, but it is our life and we love it nonetheless!
We are thankful that the boys had a great week with their Grandma - they talked all the way home of all the things they did & said while we were away. We are glad that we were able to get away and regroup, take a look at the important things in life, & just enjoy one another for awhile! And we are so very blessed to have a home to come back to that is so much more than walls & rooms. It is abundantly full with all of the things that family life should be: laughter, joy, tears, shouts, little feet padding along on the tile, prayers, activities, opinions, needs, and so on.
It is a great place to be - we may not see the natural beauties that we did in Colorado, but beauty is here...only in a different form.
P.S. Thanks to Grandma for her bravery & willing spirit!!!! We love ya!!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Perserverance Pays Off

Today we realized that true hiking is not for the faint of heart. After finishing a few "easy hikes" in the last few days, today we decided to take it up a notch and do some "real hiking". We headed over to Vail and in particular a trail called Gore Creek Trail. The map told us that for the first 4 miles we would follow along the mountain creek and then up a little higher to a lake. Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Well, lovely it was, but not without much sweat, hardship and life lessons along the way.
It all began when 30 minutes (30 treacherous hiking minutes) into the hike as we tried to catch our breath at the top of a steep area, a thunderstorm rolled in. Apparently in the Colorado mountains the weather can change at any time. One minute we were sweating & hot and the next it was freezing & a storm moved in. Well, I am not one to play with lightning or take any chances (I've got 5 kids waiting at home)so I quickly headed back down the trail to the car to wait until the weather moved on out. So that put us back a bit in time but more in energy. However, we were not going to give up so after the showers we headed back up again. And we were so glad that we did.
The trail led us to different views of the mountains. It started as a bare dirt path that quickly changed to a very rocky path, then there was an Aspen grove, and we ran into the creek at many turns. There were birds flying around and then butterflies fluttering onto the wildflowers, and there were shady areas with really crisp, cool breezes as well.
It is hard to describe experiences like these. We can take pictures and use words, but you have to be there to feel the emotion of the moment. There is nothing more refreshing than being surrounded by the sights, smells, & activities of nature.
Jason and I spoke on the hike about how much hiking is like the journey of our lives. There were times on the hike we thought we could not go a step further, yet we couldn't quit as well. Then there were times when the trail became smooth and pleasant and we felt blessed abundantly. At other times we came upon steep edges where we could have fallen hundreds of feet down to the rocks below us...there was a little fear and we had to carefully manuever around to take pictures.
Isn't that the way that life is...some times are hard, some are smooth & easy, some bring fear, at times you feel you cannot go any further, yet at other times you go on with ease. In the end, though, if you have stayed the course & perservered, you leave the hike of life satisfied, fulfilled, & rewarded with greater joys than a few good pictures & happy memories.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Colorado - A Dreamy State

Truly Alive! That is the phrase that runs through my mind as we travel around this beautiful place! I don't know if it is the cool, crisp air, the natural beauty, or the elevation getting to us, but we feel more alive here than ever before! (Or maybe it is the absence of five busy boys &various real life duties?) Whatever it is, it is a wonderful feeling!
I think others must feel the same way when they come to this place. The more people we have met, the more we have heard of those who have visited Colorado, fell in love with it, and moved here to live out their lifelong dreams. Apparently this is not a new thing or so we learned as we visited Georgetown today to learn the history of this "gold-rush state". In the 1800's people flocked here to pan for gold in in hopes of fulfilling their dreams and making a good life for their families.
We too have felt the effects of this dreamy place. When you see the amazing beauty and the greatness of this place, your mind just kind of soars and you start to believe that truly your own dreams may be possible. What are they incomparison to this? I mean if God can make something so vast & incredible, can He not do something miraculous with us as well? Hasn't He already? God is able to take simple, raw materials and make outstanding works of art that speak to the heart of all who see them - and this is just in nature! Imagine what He can do with a life fully surrendered to Him, with people that will believe that He can!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Another Gorgeous Day

Jason and I began the day by heading back to the Continental Divide with the intention of hiking to the top to have a picnic lunch and enjoy the views. As the old saying goes, "the best views are at the top". Well we wouldn't know because we never made it that far!
We did however make it to about 13,000 feet and we felt very proud to do that. There were some incredible views and we spotted a lake near the lower part of the mountain that we would not have known was there had we not hiked up far enough to see it. We considered that our reward when we drove over to it later and enjoyed it's peaceful beauty. The water was so matter where we were we could see the bottom perfectly!
Afterwards we drove back to the resort and decided to take a bike ride through Keystone. There is this lovely biking trail that runs alongside of a stream and parallel with the main road. We rode along happily on our way into town, but it wasn't long before Jason pointed out that we had been gradually descending the whole time and would have to take the same route back so we better be careful how far we go. I am glad that we stopped at that point because by the time we reached the resort again we were both exhausted! We were so tempted to stop and walk the bikes back at times, but we could not give in....we had to go all the way so we would feel that we truly had accomplished a great feat of strength! We realized that we were not as athletic as we thought we were as other bikers zipped past us talking on their cell phones and looking completely relaxed & rested while we huffed & puffed and called out encouragement to each other to make it to the end!
One of the highlights of our time biking was when we stopped along the stream and sat together on a little wooden bench to rest and talk. It was such a beautiful setting, so serene and peaceful, that we decided to pray together and give thanks for our marriage & family. It was one of those moments where you felt as if you might cry, but really we were too out of breath to do so!
We really are having a great time here and I think we both have been reminded that life is such a gift and God's goodness is unfailing!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What an amazing day!

Beauty is something you never tire of...or so we have found today! Around every bend in the road and over every mountain pass, we were continually in awe of what we were seeing. Each time we thought that it could not get any better - we were wrong.
We began the day by attending a small church in town and then went into Breckenridge for lunch at a little cafe. After enjoying the delectable foods, we headed off to see the Aspens once again! We took a mountain pass out of town and into the most beautiful area I have ever seen. We were surrounded by the rich colors of the green Pines and the golden Aspens, along with the overhead beauty of the bright blue sky with stark white clouds. The combination was truly breathtaking.
We parked awhile and hiked up into one of the areas where we saw a few wildflowers and birds, along with a little chipmunk and mountain stream. It was quite an experience to hike in this elevation, so Jason and I had to stop and rest for awhile to catch our breath and that is where we saw the delicate butterfly on the flower. It looks fairly large on the picture, but in actuality it was quite small.
We ended our afternoon by heading back into Breckenridge to rest at Starbucks and enjoy some warm coffee (it was pretty chilly by this time) where we met alot of great people from all over the country. We enjoyed hearing their stories and visiting with them.
As we headed back to the resort we asked ourselves again, "Are we really here?" It was truly an amazing day and we praise God that He has allowed us to be here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our Trip To Colorado....ALONE!!!

For the very 1st time in our lives, Jason and I are so blessed to be in Keystone, Colorado this week. We have 7 amazing days to enjoy God's Creation and His gift of marriage!
Needless to say, we are so excited!
As we arrived today, we were struck by the beauty of the Rocky Mountains like never before - Wow! The Aspens are changing colors and that is truly a sight to behold! The golden-yellow is magnificent! I told Jason that surely Heaven will be filled with that kind of color! It is such a testimony to the wisdom and the creativity of God! It reminds me of Romans 11:36 "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen."
When you see such beauty your heart cries out to give praise to someone and I am so thankful that we know That Someone whom we should thank! It is such an invigorating experience to stand at the Continental Divide (elevation 11,990 feet) and see things from such a different perspective. I think we would all be much better off if we could step back more often and see the bigness of our world and in turn, the bigness of our God!