The Googegs - Strangers in the World

The Googegs - Strangers in the World

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Remember those lazy days of summer -- hanging out with your friends and telling your mom how bored you are? When Riane and Braydon were really little we lived in a very old house with a wraparound porch. We spent a whole lot of warm days sitting on that porch rockin', readin' and watchin' the traffic.

Well, those days have passed, in a mighty way! I don't know what happened this summer, but we are so busy even my kids will voluntarily take a nap if there's time (Okay... only the teenagers really WANT to nap). It's busy, but it is definitely good busy.

One of our new activities this year is our participation in the National Bible Bee. It is really an awesome program. We have chosen to meet together once a day to work through our Sword Study notebooks.

This picture is not very good, but it is the only one I took with all the sword study books. This is the book we use and write in for our inductive studies.

All the kids have color coded t-shirts based on their division. We do our study and then we are supposed to be using some of our time memorizing a lot of verses! I came up with a verse basket and everyone has a card with 3 peoples' names on it. During the day you are to find your three people and go over three cards each. When your card is checked off you can have the special caramel candy that is in the basket. This is helping us a lot -- I still see the most precious site -- all my children in various locations studying and quoting scripture.

June also has two birthdays. Wokelle turned 6 on June 20 and Riane turned 17 on June 22.

Well, that is how it feels to have a 17 year old and to start having discussions about passport renewals, mission trips and saying things like "we don't have much time to do that before..."

Riane has grown into quite the young lady with a sure love of books and definite ideas. Even her birthday dessert -- she picked sweet potato casserole and whipped cream. Home made whipped cream, not whipped topping.  Interesting pick, but surprisingly good.

Master Wokelle has ideas too. Mostly about how he hopes our next adoption includes somebody younger than him.

He decided on ice cream cake, which looks great in this picture. However, I did not get it frozen long enough and it went smooosh when I cut it.

In our family, we have a big meal at lunch time. Birthday meals are no different. We end up laughing a lot when we are at that table.

Sometimes we laugh so hard we begin to rock ....

Forward . . .

Backward . . .

Some of us look so wonderful

But ... I can see just a glint of ornery . . .

Wonder where he gets it from!

Always making faces!

Seriously, Wokelle loved his new scooter from Grandma. As soon as he wrangled it out of the box he was figuring out how it worked.

A few years ago, we stopped giving our kids gifts for birthdays, but began to do family friendly activities instead. This year Wokelle wants to swim at a local pool and then get an ice cream cone. I haven't had a chance to work that into our schedule, but it is coming soon.

Riane chose to take a tour of the Mazza Museum.This is a children's book art museum. We didn't know what it would be like, but off we went. We had a fabulous tour guide and it was so interesting -- everybody loved it.

At the end our guide did an art project with all of us. She asked us to use glue and tissue paper to create either an animal or something that represented ourselves.

Here's the final smattering of some of our pictures. I will leave you to figure out what goes with who.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Curious Case of the Missing Camera Cord

I had no pictures from vacation because I could not find the camera cord. Silly Mom! On vacation we let the kids watch some movies on the laptop. The camera and cord were in the same bag and I took the cord out and put it in the glove compartment. Lately, my memory goes quickly. I never remembered doing it until last week. So, I missed photo opportunities and that's Okay.

I found a lot of pictures on the camera that had never been downloaded. Mother's Day, our Garage Sale among others. I will not bore you with so many family photos, but I would like to share a few from our vacation.

The first part of our vacation was spent in Georgia visiting Jerome's sister. We could only stay one night before heading to our conference, but it was worth the drive.

Jerome's sister has seven children, but some are all grown up. We got to spend time with almost everyone, but most of our time was spent with the youngest three boys-- the only ones on have pictures of this trip. We were able to visit an awesome little water park close to their home.

The cousins right before we left.

This was taken in Nashville getting ready for our first day of conference. This was Ricky's first opportunity to part of the Alert Cadet Challenge -- he was so excited! He worked really hard and earned a new wallet.

Braydon was an old hand at Alert Cadet, and a great encourager to Ricky.

That's it -- then the camera cord was mysteriously misplaced. One of the reasons I am struggling with memory (I am really NOT that old!) is that we are beyond busy right now. We are involved in the National Bible Bee, we are working some Saturdays at our farmer's market, we are in 4H, piano lessons, sometimes a crochet group at church, as well as making monthly visits to a nursing home. In between, we have visited a friend in the hospital, made to a garage sale and hosted a friend overnight in our house, as well as having our niece and nephew over for a day. Wokelle had a birthday and Riane will have one tomorrow. I have loved every minute of these activities, but my brain apparently can not keep up.

ADOPTION UPDATE: We are receiving referrals quite often and our home study is being sent out. No match yet . . .

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vacation 2011

We have just returned from our summer vacation to Nashville, Tennessee.  This was a much anticipated vacation as we were attending the ATI Regional Conference.

The first two days of our vacation was spent in Atlanta, Georgia visiting Jerome's sister. We enjoyed seeing our family so much. We didn't get to spend much time, but we did go to a local water park and that was a blast!

After that we drove to Nashville to get ready for our conference. We had one afternoon to do some walking and maybe shopping downtown. The kids were itching to spend some money. What they found on this "touristy" street of Nashville was a great spiritual analogy. Everything looked good and fun -- Even, I daresay, a bit foreign. Guitar players on the street -- bars with twinkly lights -- glitzy stores. As we walked their faces all got a bit longer. The guitar players on the street looked pretty tired and worn. The bars with the twinkly lights as we walked by were full of sad people and were not so twinkly as much as garish and dingy. The glitzy stores? Anything we might be interested in was way overpriced and many things were just flat out wrong. Wokelle stood in one store pointing at Yo-Yo's. "Mom, that's bad!" He said as he pointed at ying-yang symbols and more. The sales clerk stopped in mid-approach and decided we were probably not going to be a good commission. However, there was a haven. A really great ice-cream shop. As the kids faces were smiling again, we gently reminded them that this world has nothing for them and now they know it for sure!
Soon we were off to our much anticipated conference. All the children had classes to attend while Mom and Dad attended general sessions. Riane is older now and attended our session about half the time and student sessions part of the time. She also participated in choir. Mary attended Commit and choir  Adela was a Pre-Excel student. Wokelle attended Children's Institute. Ricky and Braydon attended the Alert Cadet Challenge.  I would encourage you to click the links for these programs if you have never heard of them. They are Godly ministries that often have much larger programs, but are presented in a shorter format at the regional conferences.

Our conference was a real spiritual mountaintop. We were in the fellowship of like-minded believers striving forward for the cause of Christ. There were many resources (books, DVDs, etc) for sale. This was a great opportunity for us as we would not have to pay for shipping. It has been 3 years since we have been able to attend a conference and Jerome and I were like starving men at the banquet table; we could not get enough. Every so often we would say, "We have bought enough, we will get more next time. It will take us all year to get through what we have." Only to walk by those tables again and find one more thing!  What a blessing, we have so much to learn this year. We met many wonderful people and it was a joy to share with them. The end of the conference was a huge choir of young people singing "It Will Be Worth It All When We See Christ."  So moving, when Dr. Gothard stood and said, "Now, that is worth giving my life for." Sowing seeds and equipping our young people for their lives -- indeed.

We drove right off that Spiritual Mountaintop into the Valley of Circumstances. We decided to join the National Bible Bee this year and the materials were arriving while we were gone. I spent so much time on Saturday preparing for church and unpacking that I didn't even open the boxes until Sunday Night at the family meeting. Right then, I could see that to do this right we needed a lot of organization . Even though it was late, I headed to Walmart for binders and 3x5 boxes. The first Walmart (a 20 minute drive), was power washing outside. I barely made it in the front door. The store looked fine, until I got to the office supplies section, which was corded off and they were running machines to strip the floors. I had to go to another Walmart (30 minute drive). By the time, I got home and put all 8 binders together it was 2:00am!  I have never found the cord to our digital camera (that's why there's no pictures). Every one has some touch of cold -- runny nose, cough and Wokelle spiked a 102 fever. Today, one car has ended up in the shop and we still don't know the problem (it had to be towed there).

We are trying to remember all those glorious things that we were learning in our conference, about Anger (frustration and irritation are anger too), blessing our children, giving thanks in all things and being creative. God is faithful and has brought us many small miracles to smooth the way. We left a container on our porch so that the UPS man could put our Bible Bee materials in the container in case of rain. When we left Ohio it had rained nearly every day. We could see on our drive home that it had been dry while we were gone. However, a major storm was brewing. It was starting to let loose when we pulled in the driveway. Our Bible Bee boxes were too large for the container and had been left on our porch. Jerome pulled the boxes in the front door and the storm dumped. The entire front porch was wet in minutes. Amazing the timing!  In that box were six beautiful new Bibles and all of our study materials and God held off just long enough ...

Many things like these keep reminding us that mountain or valley, we are not to focus on our circumstances but our God.

Philippians 4:11-13
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content.  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.