BRAT - (noun)

Brat- (noun)

1.A child, especially a spoiled or ill-mannered one.

2.A child of a career military person.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Yes Virginia, that really was an earthquake!

This picture made me smile! Too good not to share.

Yesterday afternoon I took the kids out for a little shopping and lunch. As we pulled back into our garage, Josh jumped out first and said he was going to see if a friend was home. Bill Jr. was helping me unload the car, and I was helping Michelle out of the car. Suddenly I heard our garage door start shaking. It got louder and louder but there was a low, rumbling roar going along with it. At first I thought Josh was kicking the door or hitting it, but then I realized we were in the middle of an earthquake. I could hardly believe it - we lived in California for a year and a half, and that was my biggest fear the whole time we lived there. We never felt so much as a tiny rumble our whole time there. This one was centered about 30 miles south of my house. And believe me, we felt this one.

We walked out of our garage and talked with our neighbors for a few minutes. The teenage girl across the street was home alone, and she seemed quite shaken up, in every way. During the actual earthquake I wasn't afraid, just kind of amazed, but I felt a little sick to my stomach afterwards as I realized what had just happened.

We went inside to survey the damage. A scared doggie, a couple of cans that fell out of cabinets, and a few books off our overcrowded book shelf. Other than that, no real damage done to our home.

Everywhere we went, for the rest of the day, we overheard people telling their part of the story. One of my good friends told me she had just left her chair in her office to go get some water, and when she returned after the quake she saw a huge mirror had fallen and shattered right where she was sitting.

When something like this happens, you can't help but become a bit reflective. (O.K., I can't speak for everyone, but things like this always make me stop and think!) One minute we were literally enjoying a perfect day - the sun was shining, the weather was not too hot, not too cold, I was having fun and enjoying my kids, and then the next the ground is shaking under my feet. I will tell you this - I certainly hope that is the worst earthquake I ever experience. I can't even imagine what people in Japan or California must go through.

As I was contemplating this yesterday, I was reminded at how quickly life can change. It only takes a single minute! And I was reminded that my hope is not in this world - I am blessed beyond measure! I have a husband that I love more than words can say, 4 beautiful healthy children, a nice home in a nice neighborhood, great supportive family and a lot of good friends, and even with all it's problems, I still live in what I believe is the greatest country in the world. And yet, my hope is not in any of these things. My hope is in God and His Son Jesus. I know someday my life on this earth will vanish. I believe there is so much more waiting for me - the things of this earth will someday all pass away. No matter how hard I might try, I know I won't live here forever. But I believe, with every fiber of my being, that I will live forever with my Lord and Savior Jesus. That gives me great hope! And, it gives me comfort in this world, when I feel the world shaking under my feet. (literally and figuratively!)

Last night I had a unique privilege. Our church is building a new stage, and our music minister invited everyone on the worship team to come and sign the concrete part of the stage, before it is overlaid with hard wood and carpet. He invited us to sign with a verse or prayer. I choose to sign with the words of a hymn - one that seemed meaningful. After yesterday's events, it seemed even more appropriate. Every week, as I stand on stage to sing praises to my God, I will know under my feet are these words.

"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand."

I pray that everyone who reads this post will have that same hope. If not, I pray that this will be the day that you look for it - it's found in the person of Jesus Christ! He is my Hope!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bits and Pieces of Summer

Someone asked me yesterday what I had done over the summer. It was an innocent enough question, but it made me feel a little sad, as if she was saying that summer was over, time to move on. I love summer time! Relaxed schedules, sleeping late, time with family, leisurely afternoons at the pool, good food. Sigh!

But, my friend is right - summer is coming to a close. And, I will admit, I have not been the best blogger this summer. So, here is a quick recap of a few things that didn't make it into the blog.

After Lizzy returned from Italy, she got a job at a local pizza restaurant. I think she enjoyed the experience, even if it meant very little sleep for her. She worked the late shift 2 or 3 nights a week, which meant she didn't even go to work until 10:00 p.m., returning home in the wee hours of the morning. Then, she slept most of the next day. It was a good experience, and I know she was grateful to get any job in this tough economy. But, I think we both hope next summer she can have a job with more normal hours.

Josh & Michelle had a great time at Vacation Bible School. The theme was Main Street USA. They are both still singing the songs. I lead the worship team. I love working with these young people, most of them having never played in front of an audience. I love teaching them how to not only lead worship, but to be lead worshippers. There is something really wonderful about seeing 500 kids in front of you, singing and jumping and praising God!

Bill and I managed a quick overnight trip away in late July to celebrate our 22 anniversary. Lizzy offered to watch the younger kids, so we checked into a local spa/resort and had 24 hours all to ourselves. It was wonderful!

Bill Jr. got to spend a week at the beach with one of his good friends, Chris. He also had his wisdom teeth out last week - not fun, but necessary. Hard to believe he will be a Senior this year. We have already done several college visits, and we would like to squeeze in a couple more early this fall before he starts the application process. He wants to be a teacher, and he wants to go to college in Virginia. I'm excited to see what the future holds for him!

In 2 more days we drive Lizzy back to school to begin her Sophomore year. Sigh! I guess that means summer really is winding down. Today Michelle has her Kindergarten physical, the last thing we have to do before she heads off to school. So, we will return next week to buy shoes, backpacks, school supplies... and hopefully squeeze in a few more afternoons at the pool.

Still trying to enjoy those last few days of summer!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Our Week at the Cape

Last week we went to visit Grammy Cole at Cape Cod. It was a great week - the traffic was light (I would dare say, it was the easiest travel we have ever had going to Grammy's! Maybe high gas prices kept more people at home?) The weather was nice, especially after such a hot summer here in NOVA. And, this was the first time Bill has joined us for the whole week in a while. We had a really nice week.

We have lots of annual traditions when we visit the Cape. It's wonderful to return to the same place year after year. We visited some of our favorite beaches (although I didn't take many pic's on the beach this year), ate at some of our favorite places (you will notice, most of these pic's are of us eating. Hmmm?!!!) and of course, my kids think no trip to the Cape is complete without a visit to the Brewster General Store. They have lots of "penny" candy ~ I say that with caution, because this year I spent a "pretty penny" on candy! You might notice a few new faces added to the Cole clan - we brought along some cousins who were visiting for the day, Emon and Ethan. We also had Lizzy's boyfriend, Kit, vacation with us for most of the week.

Time with Grammy - the BEST part of our week!

Ice cream smiles!

We actually did pretty well this year - I think we only went out for ice cream twice this visit, including a family favorite, the Sundae School.

Michelle was a little freaked out by the lobster at the Lobster Boat Restaurant. I don't think Daddy helped much. (;

We always take a pic outside the Lobster Boat. This year it was raining when we arrived, so we did an after-dinner picture.

One of my favorite things to do at the Cape is play games. Bill Jr. is usually the most competitive one in our family, but this year Josh won most of the rounds of Clue.

Mini-golf at Pirate's Cove.

Josh & Dad went deep-sea fishing one morning and brought home some yummy Sea-bass.
I love time in the sun and sand with my family!

Monday, August 8, 2011


I will never forget August 8, 2008! We were spending the day together, going to an Army picnic and fishing tournament with Bill's work. I remember being late and almost getting a speeding ticket. I remember being really hot as we ate hotdogs & burgers. I remember the kids not catching much at the fishing tournament, and being kind of cranky about that.

Everyone was hot and tired, so we came home and decided to rest/nap. We had already made plans to watch the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics and order chinese food takeout from our favorite restaurant.

And then the phone rang... and I knew!

It was CCAI, calling to tell us there was a beautiful little girl, who needed a family. They asked if we would take a look at her file and get back to us as soon as possible. We knew our referral had to be getting close, but God was so good to let it be on that special day! My husband is very rarely home on a Friday afternoon at 3:00, but he was that day. As the world celebrated the beauty and awe of the opening ceremony, we celebrated the beauty and awe of our daughter!

For years I had dreamed of this child, prayed for her, and hoped! Now, I finally had a face, a person to put with all those dreams and prayers.

It's hard to believe it's only been 3 years - I can hardly remember a time before I knew this sweet face! We love you Michelle.