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Friday, July 23, 2010

Why Us?

I've been praying strongly for healing lately. That seems to be the bulk of my prayers these days. They used to start with asking for safety, strength, and guidance. I still ask for those, but healing is first on my list. Since we've been at campmeeting (with no TV, AC, or any other modern day luxury), I've had a lot of time to pray (in the heat) and most of my prayers have revolved around healing.

I don't know why, but it seems as though an epidemic of sickness is hitting all around Ashley and I and Lorelei and sometimes it feels as though our family is floating around in a tiny, little germ-free bubble (no bio-suits required). I often find myself asking God "why us." I know how that sounds. Isn't that something you say when things are going badly in life? I kick myself for even thinking it, but I do. I don't know why we have stayed immune to the world around us, but we have and I think about how completely unfair it is. Why us? Why are things so good for us when all around us bad things pop up to such good people. I guess that is the age old question that no one ever fully understands. Why do bad things happen to good people? Deep down, I know why and I know that life is just not fair. God never promised it would be. Then why is it so fair to us? We did nothing to deserve this and yet if something good could happen, it does for us. Seeing what others are going through and the trials that God is putting them through is so difficult, yet possibly bittersweet. I think that's the right word to describe it. I know I've probably offended anyone who may read this and I must sound pretty horrible for describing these scenarios in such a way. Hear me out though. The sweet part of all this is that I know God never gives someone more than they can handle and the pain that is being inflicted now will only make these people stronger in their faith and a testimony to others in the way they've handled these circumstances. I've already seen it and been personally influenced by it. It has made me realize the things we take for granted in our bubble. The bitter part comes from the present pain that must be going on; that must be felt by these great people and I can't begin to understand that sitting in my bubble staring out into the rest of the world.

Therefore, I must become a warrior of prayer because I know it works and there is great and mighty power in the act of prayer and God is bigger than anything we could ever imagine in this world. Why us? I don't know, but one thing I do know is that blessings flow from our God in all directions. We are being hit by them every second and all I can do is continue to thank God for all that we receive and pray for healing and blessings to pour out to those that are hurting and need the almighty power of healing from our Lord and Savior. Why do we get the favor of health and prosperity and others don't? Maybe we can't handle bad situations with such grace and strength and hopefullness that others can. Maybe God really does know how far we can go; how far it is out there to that breaking point where all hope fades to nothing. Maybe our day is coming where we will need prayer, strength and the almighty healing power of God. For now, I will continue to count my blessings, be that prayer warrior for others, and thank God for the days that I get to spend in my bubble with my wondeful wife and daughter.

Many prayers go out daily to those I'm writing about and much love to them. There is a running list of people out there right now that need prayers of healing. I will continue to pray and I will continue to remain faithful and I will probably continue to ask God "why us" and ponder that age old question.

God, we need your power of healing. You are our heavenly physician and your strength is needed during this time. We pray for healing, strength, and continued faithfulness. Amen.

- Adam

Campmeeting -- Day 6

What a wonderful day! Lorelei loved singing again!
You can't really see her face, but I just love this picture b/c you can see her smile all the way from the back.

Here we are getting ready for the Loudsville Olympics!!!

The first event was a relay where the kids ran down filled up a bucket of water ran back and dumped it on themselves.

Lorelei thought it was hilarious! She just kept laughing!!!

Then it was time for our relay. For the kids who were too small to walk, the parents ran them down, dunked their bottoms in water, and ran back.

After a few more events, the Olympics always end with a water balloon toss.

Adam and I cooked dinner! For dinner we had pot roast and veggies (which is not too pretty so I decided to put a picture of dessert instead). We received the biggest compliment when Aunt Bette said "This meal reminds me of how mother used to cook." Aunt Bette's mother is Big Momma and she is known for her amazing southern cooking so this was quite the compliment--thank you Aunt Bette!

Time to go to church
Lorelei playing in the shavings during service--bad mommy and daddy--but it kept her quiet for a while.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Campmeeting -- Day 5

Wow what a day! I am exhausted! So much fun though! This morning we made it down in time for the children's singing...

If you were wondering if Lorelei liked it...just look at the joy on her face

She even paid attention a little bit.

Then for crafts we did salvation bracelets. Lorelei is checking her bracelet out.

It was almost nap time for Lorelei so it was on to the next adventure...tubing down the river with Nana and Alice.

We had a wonderful time! I worked very hard to keep them safe and make sure everyone had fun. We made it all the way until the very end and then Nana decided she would just get herself out of the tube instead of waiting on me to help...and she fell in. She didn't get her hair wet so it wasn't too bad but she was completely soaked. We had to race back in our wet clothes to make it for the hayride!

Lorelei's first hayride!!!!!!

The hayride makes several laps around the campgrounds. The first lap is the dry lap for the little ones and then after the first lap everyone at the campground throws water on the kids as they come back around. We only stayed on for the first lap.

Then mom and I decided to check out the new attraction called Goats on the Roof which is a gift shop/ice cream/fudge place and...you guess it...they actually have goats on the roof.

Then it was nap time again for Lorelei. For dinner we went to Bette's tent again and had pizza together as a family. Then it was time to get ready for church.

Lorelei was pretty tired tonight so Daddy took her on up to bed.

Good night from Campmeeting--sweet dreams!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Campmeeting -- Day 4

Today was the first day for the children's program!

Lorelei slept in a little later than normal because we had her out late at church last night so we missed the singing. We did however get down there with plenty of time for the crafts. Lorelei loved playing around in the shavings with the other kids and making her crafts (well mom made them but she got to hold them).

Each year, the children have a wooden name tag that they keep all week. These name tags are usually kept on nails inside of the cabins for many many years to come--a decoration of sorts. We have many from my childhood and now Lorelei has her first Campmeeting name tag!!!

This morning's lesson was about Christmas so we decorated Christmas ornaments, the children received a gift from the Campgrounds--a Bible, they gave out jingle bracelets (well they were really just pipe cleaners with bells on them) and we went around the campgrounds "Jingling for Jesus" and shouting "Wake Up! Happy Birthday Jesus!" Then they decorated Christmas cookies (we opted out of that part).

We went over to Aunt Katherine and Uncle Tommy's tent and visited a while. Lorelei loves the big checkers they have.
So far, Lorelei has been taking about a 2 hour nap in the morning, a 2 hour nap in the afternoon and sleeping 11 hours at night. The girl is loving Campmeeting but it is wearing her out! After her 2 hour morning nap, it was time to go to Jess' wedding shower at my Nana's house. Jess is marring Drew in 11 days--welcome to the family!!

Papa Jim cooked his wonderful spaghetti dinner--yummy! Then it was time to get ready to go to church tonight.

Tomorrow's Adventures:

Somehow I got roped into going tubing down the river with my Nana and her friend Alice. You don't say no to grandma right? Also, Lorelei's first hayride. So excited!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Campmeeting -- Day 3

Today's big activity was Babyland. For those of you who may not know, Cleveland, GA is the home of the Cabbage Patch kids. This year they moved locations and opened up the new Babyland.

Four generations went together today (Grand Nana, Grannie, Mom, and Lorelei).

Mom had to play find Lorelei in the dolls since dad was not there.

Overall, Lorelei's first visit to Babyland was a success. She seemed to like the babies and she even got 2 babies (we had already checked out with this adorable little lamb baby and then we found a newborn baby that giggled and Lorelei loved her--So Grannie spoiled her with another one).

We then went to Grand Nana's house and visited for a while. We went back to the Campgrounds, cut up the biggest watermelon I have ever seen, and Adam and I cleaned the dishes (no such thing as a dishwasher here--other than us of course).

Tonight was the first night for service. Technically Campmeeting started tonight with service. This is the only picture Lorelei let us take of her before or during service.
She was pretty good for service and mom and dad actually got to stay for the whole thing! I wonder if that will continue throughout the week???

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Campmeeting -- Day 2

Today is family reunion day. Every year, the first Sunday of Campmeeting, we all leave the campgrounds travel about 5 miles into the town of Cleveland, GA and go to the American Legion for our annual family reunion (the location has changed throughout the years but this has been the location for a few years now).

Why would we have a family reunion when the whole week is like a family reunion? That I could not tell you. This is a tradition and around here...we keep our traditions. This particular group is made up of the Blacks and the Bells (about 1/4 of the tents at Campmeeting I think). We are part of the Black family and a long time ago a Black married a Bell and now we get together at the American Legion for the Black Bell reunion.

It is a potluck meal and is pretty delicious. The president tells us all of the births, marriages, weddings, graduations, and deaths in the family and then we go home (or at least today we went to the new Walmart).
The line for the food
Talking to Papa Jim

Lorelei sure loved the food!

Everyone else did too!

Lorelei made some friends

Mommy's necklace--perfect entertainment when we are supposed to be being quite for announcements...

The rest of the day was spent sitting around playing games and enjoying each others company.

Now it is 11:30 at night and the breaker just blew out so we have no electricity. So much for Adam's 4 fans blowing...although I have to admit, I'd rather hear the beautiful noise of the crickets...

Good night world.

Campmeeting -- Day 1

Hello folks! We are in Cleveland, GA at Loudsville Campmeeting 2010. For those of you who do not know, this is a tradition my family has gone to for years. When I say family, I mean most of the people here are related to us somehow. We stay in what we call tents but are really more like rustic cabins. There is no air conditioning and it is Georgia in the middle of the summer so many people think we are crazy, but if you grew up here it holds a very special place in your heart. The children LOVE Campmeeting. They get to play outside all day with their friends and there are not too many rules. The adults sit around a talk and tell old stories of the Good Ole' Days. There are two church services a day (11am and 8pm--although some people just go to the 8). The morning starts at 9 where the children have singing and crafts. During the day there is are children's activities (i.e. hayride, Loudsville Olympics, tubing down the river, bonfire, etc). I just love Campmeeting.

This will be Lorelei's first Campmeeting (well she actually came for a few hours when she was about 5 weeks old but this will be the first time she will be here for the whole week).

To get an idea of what I am talking about please enjoy a few pictures of the cabin and the campgrounds. Note, this cabin is like a luxury cabin to the one I grew up with that had shavings on the floor and we all stayed in one room of bunk beds and approx 10 people shared one bathroom--I miss the old cabin sometimes but Adam and mom appreciates the new one.

The view from our tent of the campgrounds. You can see the arbor in the middle where we have church.

The view from inside the arbor

The outside of our tent

The kitchen in our tent

Our room all set up with a play area for Lorelei. Note the 4 fans blowing on the bed for Adam. This is by far the largest room in the house.

Lorelei loves Campmeeting already! She loves to swing :)

Campmeeting is exhausting!!

More to come as the week goes on!!!!