Tuesday, August 30, 2011

North Carolina in photographs

As I sat down to write this blog, I realized I cannot really put into words how wonderful North Carolina was to our hearts.  I should have pulled the camera out in the airplane as we were landing to show my fellow Texans what the color green looks like on land.  From that point on North Carolina had already captured my heart.  

When we decided to leave our hometown during Holden's birthday week and actual birthday, I was a little apprehensive about what that would mean.  What this week ended up being was an amazing testimony of how God orchestrates every detail when His children work together around the world.  I cannot possibly imagine a better way to celebrate the life God gave us a year ago.  

I always look through photos of a trip and wish I had taken more.  Here are a few that we did get.

I don't have a photo of Whitney and I together, but I think someone took one of us.  She allowed us to take her [brand new] car all weekend, which was a tremendous blessing.  Just like she is.  

Chet and I stopped to eat at "Elijah's" for our first dinner in NC.  We enjoyed a romantic boardwalk stroll together.

 Of course I had to take a photo of the "Henrietta III". :)
 Our first day on the beach.  We didn't realize we would want to swim until we arrived.  We hurried back to the hotel and grabbed swimsuits and spent the whole day there after dipping our feet in the fabulous waves.  The water was warm and perfect for body surfing!

 Definitely recommend Wrightsville Beach!
 My dear friend Ashley suggested "The Bridgetender" restaurant for a date night.  We made reservations and I am so glad we did.  It was lightly sprinkling, but still warm in the high 80's.  It was a perfect date night.  This is the bridge lifting up for a sailboat to pass under.

 The views were amazing all evening.  I felt like I was in a book.
 Sunset...it took me a few minutes to realize why the "sun" wasn't setting on the water.  I haven't been to the East Coast in a while...ha!! ;)  Chet liked to give me a hard time about that the whole trip.

 Before we left Wilmington, Chet wanted to visit the USS North Carolina battleship.  It was HUGE, awesome and sobering.   I felt a little queasy being underneath the very warm (easily 100+ degrees) diesel-smelling decks for the two-hour tour; but made me even more grateful for the soldiers who were willing to spend a year onboard.  (By the way, a sign below deck said it was over 135 degrees while they were working - and fighting in battle - in the engine and boiler rooms, day in day out.  Freedom isn't free.)

 We left Wilmington and headed to Fayetteville on Friday afternoon, before "Hurricane Irene" made landfall.  The very difficult decision was made to cancel the race, as race support (porta-potties, etc.) pulled out on us and made it impossible to hold a race.  The safety of participants and volunteers was too important to continue with the original plans.  This was a lessen in God's plans being greater than ours.  It was an emotional decision, after Amy and her team had spent the last 6 months planning every detail to host the perfect race.  Doors were opened though, and we were graciously offered a room at the Marson's home church to gather on race morning.  The event turned out wonderful and we met the most precious people.  The children were so sweet I am getting teary-eyed just remembering them all...they gave us handmade cards, notes, hugs and the kindest words.  Wow.  Amy and I agreed that not all races are physical, and we learned another lesson that we are to endure difficult spiritual and emotional races in life.  It was so fitting to what this past year has been, maybe even more than a physical race.
God is good.

My RUNNING PARTNERS from Snyder braved the hurricane and joined us for the weekend.  It meant SO much to me that they did.

Amy, in her gift of hospitality, made every.single.detail about our stay with their family above and beyond.  This is part of the reason it has taken me so long to write about this weekend.  Her love was and is overwhelming to me.  She is sisters with one of my dearest friends here in Snyder, and I can honestly say I thank the Lord for their friendship daily.

Look at these COOKIES!!  Each day we walked into "our" bedroom filled with such love like this.

 Both of our race bibs were #28 and we had a photo of our son next to our bed.

Ugandan keychain and necklace with Holden's birthstone.  Such love.  

Breath-taking details.

Because of the races all around the country, spurred on by the race in Fayetteville, Amy's dream to help the most innocent, beautiful babies in Kampala will soon be under way.  Hearing of Amy's time in Uganda, especially the baby orphanage, gave such purpose to Holden's life on his birthday.  I knew exactly what God had in store for this day before Holden was ever created.

We do not have a "grand total" for the races yet, which is a wonderful "problem" to have, because donations are still coming in.  I KNOW that next time Amy visits Uganda, she will get to kiss those beautiful little faces and see how healthy their lives are because of the clean water they will have to mix in their formula and take baths in.

I find it a little strange that a piece of my heart lives in a country I have never even traveled to yet.  Maybe it's because our son's life has such meaning there.  It has taken a lot of growing this past year to understand the intricate plans God has laid out.  As soon as I land on Ugandan soil, I will be taking the first ride I can get to this orphanage.  I want to tell those babies how much they are loved.


  1. If, when you go.... I am going with you!!!!

  2. LOVED all the pictures, friend! What a wonderful story! Made me teary! :)