Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sara



This girl is such a gem!


She recently had to swear an oath at Immigration in Bedford because she entered the country over the age of 14….for those of you who don't remember….we adopted her the day before her 14th birthday.


It was such a sweet ceremony.  We are so proud of her.


Fitting time doing it the Thursday before the Fourth of July!


We love you Sara!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Fourth of July



We had a wonderful Fourth of July!

Our morning started with a parade in our home town….Kiara was involved because of the Jr. Miss Raymond Pageant.

The boys represented their Alert Cadet unit…NH 1st Bravo.

It was followed by an old fashion celebration with food and games.  It was good to chat with so many folks we haven't seen, play games and we won lots of prizes too.








Afterwards, we had he cousins come over and joined us to celebrate Michaela's birthday.

We were gifted with a case of marshmallow shooters.  We armed everyone and away they went.  The dogs chased over them clean up…not necessarily the best but good none the less.



We ended the night with sparklers.





Happy Fourth of July!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Texas, Alert and Snakebites

So we were able to spend a whole day in Memphis with our dear friends the Russell's.  We got to know this family when we lived in Germany....many years ago.  Their son, Kevin is 6 months older than our oldest daughter, Michaela.  They were both born in a Germany before we headed back to the States.

Getting together with them is like we were never apart....catching up with their busy lives was a sweet time.

We headed out to a music museum on the history of music in Memphis....the kids loved it but I love history and it was truly wonderful!  



We then went to Central BarBQ....yum!  Southern food at its best....pulled pork, sweet tea and all the sides!

On our return walk, we went by the Loraine hotel...made famous by the shooting of Martin Luther King.  We had studied a bit from this time in our history but decided we needed to do a unit study with the intention of coming here on our next trip.

Oh....we also went bowling!


It was an amazing day.

After separating from the Russell's, we took another swim in the hotel pool because we were pulling out early in the am to travel to the Alert Academy.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon and attended an open house by Chaplin Burch.

The next morning, we met up with Jasons friend, Sean, who recently moved to Texas.  Jason didn't know he was coming and it was such a blessing for him to spend the day with him.

We headed to brunch, and then several information sessions on what is available to our boys through Alert, met up with some of the other families, chatted with some of the staff and were able to reconnect with some Alert Cadet staff.  The time flew by that afternoon.

We then went to a presentation by the Unit on skills they had learned.  It was awesome.  Our younger boys were excited and amazed.  

We then watched what we would call in the military....a review of the troops.  They marched in several formations in parade review...their precision was spot on.

We then headed into the auditorium for the actual advancement....there were speakers by their commanding officers, the men sang hymns and recited all of 1 Peter and were presented awards.  It was a beautiful program...we are so proud of our son Jason.

We know this was a challenge....not everyone stuck with it...but he did.  He has learned so many new things and we are so thankful to the Command for the time they invested in our son's life.

One of the most moving times was when they released the men to their families.  Many of them ran to their fathers...tears streaming down their faces and they clung to their dads.  It was a very emotional time for everyone.  We saw our own son do this...while they built these boys up into becoming men....they turned their hearts towards their dads....the ones who God placed in their lives to walk along side them as a mentor for life.

Jason then made the rounds and was so excited to see Sean.


This time of celebration was followed by a dinner.  It was a sweet reunion with our son where we were also able to meet the other men of Unit 57.

The evening was finished off by a night of volleyball and ultimate frisbee.  Our boys closed the place out but it was just starting for us.

Our son, Brandon forgot his watch on the field bleachers and Jason, Brandon and Ben decided to walk back together.  They were still out when we received a call.  Ben was bit by a snake and we don't know what kind.

We drove him to ER....wow, it sure was the most unique ER we've ever been in!  The waiting room looked like a living room...there were big bowls of Hershey miniature chocolates, chips and drinks around.  They took Ben right in and asked lots of questions.  The doctors watched and decided to keep him over night for observation.  Darrell and Jason headed back to the Academy and I stayed with Ben.

Despite some leg cramps and swelling, it was determined it wasn't a venomous snake but perhaps a black rat snake which are aggressive.  They sent us on our way in he morning.

We returned to the Academy, packed up and headed to breakfast with Sean's family.  We enjoyed our time getting to know them better and made some arrangements about getting together in the future.

We then hopped into the car and drove straight through to Delaware where Darrell's mom lives....it was a long trip but the kids did wonderfully!  When we arrived, everyone went swimming and we had a cook out.  We took naps that afternoon and everyone headed to bed early.

It is good to have our son back...I look forward to our time together in the coming weeks because he has decided to return to the Academy for the next phase of training which starts towards the end of June. Hoorah!

Birds and Fish

We've had some fun opportunities recently with the outdoor club at our church.

One evening recently, they brought in bird rehabilitator who worked with birds of prey.

She showed us several types of owls, crows, hawks and some hybrids.  

They were amazing...she showed us the details of these magnificent birds.

There were lots of ohhhhs and ahhhhhs.

This past Saturday, mom was at a women's retreat with these ladies for a wonderful time of teaching, relaxing and fun.

Dad took all of the kids at home plus friends of ours to the outdoor clubs annual fishing derby.  Twelve kiddos in all!

Everyone was put into teams and we then waited patiently.

Devon caught the 2nd fish and got a prize.

Jacob caught the biggest fish measuring in at 11.5 inches...how cool is that?

Everyone agreed it was great fun.

Texas

We are on our way to Texas....

Our son Jason has been at the International Alert Academy for the past 9 weeks....

He has worked hard....really hard.  He has learned a lot about himself, been immensely challenged, and has overcome a lot of obstacles.

We are on our way to pick him up but more importantly...attend his advancement.

It is quite the drive, we left at 1 am after about 1.5 hours of sleep....we are trying to put a bit of a break in it for the other kids.

Today, on our travels from New Hampshire to Virginia...we stopped at Luray Caverns.  I remember visiting this as a kid and it did not disappoint.  

It was fun to explore the caves, hear the beautiful organ playA Mighty Fortress is Our God, and visit the museums on the property.




We then headed to the hotel for a bit of swimming before bed.  It was a long day but was good to have a bit of fun along the way.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Why Alert?

Forging Extraordinary Men who influence their World for Christ...that is the Alert motto.

We've been asked....

Why did we send our son to Alert?  

What is the purpose?


I answered each of these questions to the best of my ability...but now that my own son has walked through this journey....I feel I can answer more confidently.

First, our family is an Alert Cadet family.  My husband runs the NH 1st Bravo Cadet Unit.  I have seen great benefit for my husband and boys....they are excited to go, serve and work hard.  They have learned many character traits in their training.  Other dads have come along side all of them with great wisdom and support.  They now have a heart to serve.

It has given our boys a place to try their leadership skills, learn about good character in a place where they can be taught, evaluated, and encouraged.  How cool is that?
Because my hubby is a part of Cadet, we've been to the International Alert Academy in Texas and met leadership of the Alert organization and some of the men coming out of the program.

We saw their character strength, their heart to serve and amazing confidence....who wouldn't want those things for their sons....but we also saw these men sold out to Jesus.  

Our own sons saw the difference in these men and wanted to go to Alert.

We spoke with staff, former Alert men...we've done our home work.

So....from a mama's point of view....I've narrowed it down to 3 "C's" of Alert that were important to our family.

Christ 

The most important thing was Alert pointed our son to Christ.  He was required to get into the word daily and journal how the Lord was speaking to him.  He had to memorize the entire book of 1 Peter....have you read that book?  All 5 chapters?  

Alert had a Chaplin working with these boys to help them walk out with their own faith...not mine, their dads or our families.  They made it their own.  The Chaplin also was a part of their other training and walked alongside them in some of the harder challenges.

They prayed over our boys....they lived and walked every day with our boys.  They knew their down falls and pushed them and challenged them in the areas they needed to be pushed.  

But... more importantly, they knew who would ultimately make the changes in their life...Jesus Christ.

Character

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity
1st Timothy 4:12

Honesty, integrity, hard working, boldness, self controlled, all of those things....Character was the one thing that originally drew us towards Cadet.  

Character is the thing our boys noticed in the Alert men.  

Character training is a huge part of our home schooling.

It is something we value...Alert men have good, strong character.

Camaraderie

This may not seem like a big deal to most...but Darrell was in the Army.  There is a special bond for those that walked that path and we knew this would be an outcome of this experience but in a much different way.

We've been around Alert and Cadet enough that we know there is a great connection to the men who graduate.  They stay connected ....to the staff and to one another.

This is a wonderful gift to have though life....it will give them an accountability partner to go to who has been trained in solid, Christ centered thinking...a good thing.

Now....there are many other reasons to send your boys to Alert.  It is a huge package for our boys to give them skills in thinking outside themselves with a big piece of humbleness...we even joked at home that is where he is going to be made into a man but I am thinking there was a lot of truth in that statement ...forging extraordinary men.

We are proud of what our son has accomplished through Alert Basic Training and are excited to see where he will go next with the next phase of training.

Don't you want your sons to be extraordinary men who influence the world for Christ?



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mount Kearsage

It was a beautiful day.....

What was more beautiful is that we had nothing on our calendar...the first day in weeks.

Quite unexpectedly, we all decided to jump into the van and go climb a mountain....seriously.

We met Michaela and drove to the base of the mountain...it was early afternoon when we arrived.

We set out with 12 Lowman's and 2 dogs...the black flies were intense....really intense.  We started the climb and realized that Jacob was going to need assistance just about step of the way.
 
Ben stepped up to assist me in getting him up...it was physically challenging for all 3 of us.  We were also carrying packs.  We soon handed off Jacob's to one of the girls who don't have survival packs yet.  He balance was much better without it.

It took us two hours to get to the top...2,900 feet up.  This kiddo didn't give up.

We had a few mishaps here and there with some of the other kids but it all worked out.

We were exhausted by the time we reached the top but the views were....
 spectacular....

you could see far...

really far.  

Lakes, mountains, roads, farms....such a beautiful site from the iconic New Hampshire views.

This boy as well as the rest of us we're excited to be up here.  

We had some snacks, took pictures, and before starting the decent down.  We were tired...really tired and we had to get back down on the steep trail.  

Ben was tired but he stuck close by....Kiara and Sara stepped into help Jacob.  Despite a few slides, we made it down.  It took us another 2 hours....it was good.  

Team work is what made us successful....it was a beautiful thing to see our kids stepping into this role willingly.  It was so cool to hear them cheering him on.

The benefits....It gave Jacob so much confidence.  The next day he learned to ride his bike...something that he had been working on and had the scrapes to prove it.  I believe he found the confidence somewhere on that hike.

I am sure it won't be the last hike but grateful we have a few days to rest up!