He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for his children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

Friday, April 23, 2010

A match made in...AFRICA?

I came across a fun blog yesterday- Kelly's Korner http://www.kellyskornerblog.com- and she apparently has a Friday activity, "Show us your Life" and this week was how you and your man met, so I thought, "why not"??  Unfortunately, living overseas, I don't have hardly any of our old pictures here so I had to do what I could with what I had with the scanner (and that was not much).  But hopefully the story will be fun even without all the pictures.  (I felt pressure to find fun pictures in reading some of the other links...)

Anyway, here's our story.  I grew up in Memphis, TN- the biggest small town in the US.  My parents still live in the same house they moved into when I was 5.  My "Memommy" (mom's mom) still lives in the same house that they moved into when my mom was 10.  Family is everything.  We were in church everytime the doors were open and I learned early on  to love Jesus and to love the world He has called us all to live in. 

Family was/is just as important for Jason's family.  However his childhood was much different.  He grew up in West Africa where his family was part of the missions organization that I studied about in my church.  As a matter of fact, in the early 1980's, my grandparents went to West Africa as part of a group of TN Baptists joining in a partnership with the work in West Africa.  They worked with my husband's family for months so at the age of 7 or so he was calling them aunt and uncle. 

About 10 years later when I headed to college at Mississippi College, my mom told me I should look up Jason Cox.  Not only did my grandparents know his family very well, but my mom had also gone to college (at MC) with both of his parents.   I found him at church the first Sunday of Freshman orientation and introduced myself.   A week later he asked me out and our first date was on September 11, 1992.  In October 994 he proposed and we were married July 29, 1995 after he graduated. 

This year, along with 15 years of marriage, we celebrate three beautiful daughters, incredible extended family and friends, a successful fight against cancer and infertility, and 6 years of cross cultural living in both France and the Middle East.   I love our life together and I am so thankful for the way God has intertwined our lives and the lives of our families. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Resurrection Cookies continued...

(this is a follow up to the resurrection cookies post from 4/3...)

Naomi to me, "Mommy, remember last time when we cooked God?"

Me (skeptically and wondering how much deeper I am going to dig this symbolism hole with my 4 year old...)

Naomi to me (with much exuberance throwing arms up in air), "Well, it didn't work, he's not dead, he came back on Easter!"  

A horrible week

I think that those of you who know me well would agree that I am generally a pretty positive person.  I tend to see the glass half full for the most part  and I try to play the roll of the optimist as much as I can.  So believe me when I tell you that a few weeks ago, I had a truly HORRIBLE week.  It's taken me this long to even be able to write about it! 

As part of Jason's job, he travels a good bit.  This is something we've prayed about alot and even though we agree that it is not ideal, we are both comfortable that he (we) are doing exactly what the Lord would have us to be doing at this phase of our lives.  Well.  He had a 10 day trip planned to the states during the week and a half leading up to Easter.  He would be returning Easter afternoon.  I was not looking forward to this particular trip for selfish reasons.  One being that he was going to be in Georgia with a lot of our family.   Also, we had just come off of an emotionally trying month, and I was just feeling kind of pity partyish and not really wanting him to leave-- not a great attitude to begin 10 days of Daddy being gone.  But I did.  Oops.  Combine my rotten attitude with everything that went wrong and then combine that with barely opening my Bible one time to get what I needed from my God and you end up with not so great results...

Those of you who have small kids and a husband who travels know that what "they" say about everything going wrong while Daddy is away is absolutely true.  I can't even count the number of times that I have locked myself out of the house when Jason is gone (ok, so that may be more of a personality thing and a story for a different day but I'm just sayin...).  Thanks to all my prayer supporters specific prayers, I didn't lock myself out this particular time, but plenty of other stuff happened. 

For starters, I don't sleep well while Jason is gone, I just don't.  I don't know why, I"m definitely exhausted but sleep is hard to come by.  Add to that the fact that my children, who pretty much always sleep in their own beds because I don't like being attacked by flying limbs in the middle of the night, seem to migrate to my bed in the middle of the night when Jason is away and leave me very little room.  (but hey I'm not sleeping so what does it matter, right?).  

About 6 days into this particular trip (already past the halfway mark so things should be smooth sailing!!), things took a turn from me just being whiny, not in the Word and generally grumpy, to me feeling like I was being attacked by the "daddys' gone and we're out to get you " goonies.  I woke up with a HORRIBLE crick in my neck.  I mean horrible.  I've had these before and for the most part, I am a push on through there's too much to be done for me to be pitiful kind of person, but this was BAD!  I was nauseated from the pain, couldn't turn my head any way etc etc.  This lasted about 36 hours.  THankfully, my girls rose to the occasion.  Came to me in bed for their homeschool assignments, helped fix lunches and clean the kitchen etc. Friday (Good Friday actually) came around and I was feeling a little better but still had this awful stiffness in my neck but there was much to do so I had to press on.  It was Easter weekend after all and I had lots of fun Easter things planned for the girls- resurrection eggs to tell the story of Jesus, dying easter eggs, oh and we were having around 20 people over for a big easter brunch on Sunday morning.   So I headed off to the grocery to get what I needed for the meal thus beginning another avalanche of "poor me" moments...   (let me just say, by the way, don't feel sorry for me about hosting a large group for a meal.  That is my joy and somehow a stress relief and I was really excited about that part of the weekend.  Plus, Jason would be getting home that day- a big celebration).  Anyway, I digress.  (sorry, I probably should have put a disclaimer at the beginning- Jason is traveling and I am short on adult conversation, thus the rambling...).  Anyway, the next avalanche of events.  For one thing, the stress of making a big grocery run here could be a blog post in itself.  Once you have fought traffic, gotten to the store, loading your groceries back in car and gotten home, you then have to unload the groceries from behind the building, walk them to the front, pile them by the elevator, load them into the elevator, THEN get them into your house.  Not exactly a stress free event.  ESPECIALLY when you set one of your bags down a little too hard in the elevator, thus breaking the glass juice container and spilling pineapple juice all over the groceries- ughh!  Then, I get home only to find that Naomi is pitiful and running a fever.  Poor, sweet little thing...

So she had a high fever and bad cough but really no other symptoms.  Since she had just had pneumonia about two weeks before, I assumed it was some sort of relapse of that.... WRONG!  Unfortunately I didn't find out that I was wrong and it was actually a stomach virus until Naomi woke me up in the middle of the night throwing up all over my bed, then throwing up in the hall in a pile of clothes in the laundry basket, and finally making it to the toilet.  Bless her.  The whole following day she seemed a lot better and I thought we were on the mend, WRONG AGAIN!  That afternoon she proceeded to throw up all over the couch (somehow she managed to miss the towels and blankets I had laid out).  Thankfully she missed our persian rug so that was a plus.   Poor pitiful thing.  That was the last of it though, thankfully.  She rallied Saturday evening and Sunday morning was ready for our Easter celebration.  But the avalanche of craziness wasn't over yet!  Saturday evening when I was fixing food for our Easter brunch on Sunday, I dropped a knife into the container of cooking oil that I had just bought and was trying to open. (see picture below).  Instead of trying to fish the knife out of the oil, I figured I would just wait until I had used enough of the oil to reach it easily.  So I put in back up into the cabinet above my spice cabinet.  If only I had known what a mistake that was!

 Saturday night after I went to bed, our sweet little Mia puppy who usually sleeps quite quietly and soundly under our bed was FREAKING OUT and irritating me to pieces.  She kept charging through the bedroom jumping on my bed- was just very frisky.  I didn't get up because I was so tired and just assumed she was stir crazy or something.  Got up early Sunday morning and walked into the kitchen to find a very greasy pool in the middle of my kitchen floor.  I soon realized it was also running down the side of the cabinet, pooling on the counter, and dripping through the spice cabinet.   Oh my word, about one fourth of the oil contained had slowly seeped out.  Apparently the knife that I dropped just barely pierced the bottom of the container and it slowly seeped out all night.  Good grief!  It took me about an hour to clean up the mess sending me into a panic as I hadn't exactly factored that in to getting ready for our 20 guests!  About the time I got it all cleaned up, Mia emmerged from under the bed where she had been sleeping.  Trouble was, she didn't exactly look like Mia....   Her head was a huge mess of cooking oil and I realized that there was no telling where she had spread the mess in my house!  Thankfully by this time I knew Jason would be home in a matter of hours so I was actually able to laugh at the comedy of errors I was experiencing.  A few hours later all our friends arrived for our Easter celebration and a little while later Jason was home.

He was home for about two weeks and is now traveling again.  Thankfully things have been much less eventful this go round and we all seem to be keeping our sanity a little bit better! 

Girly girls

 **Disclaimer**  this post is kind of random train of thought.  Jason is traveling and I haven't had much of an outlet for adult conversation!

Sometimes I find myself marveling at the fact that the Lord has chosen to bless us with our three beautiful daughters.  To be perfectly honest, sometimes I marvel and sometimes I wonder what in the world the Lord was thinking!!  We've not yet reached the teenage years yet but we're getting closer than I would like to think and I kind of get the feeling in the pit of my stomach like when you're creeping up the huge hill on a roller coaster just before you reach the top and the bottom drops out.  The bottom hasn't actually dropped out yet but I'm anticipating....

Anyway, I love my girls so much and I wouldn't want it any other way, but I was a pretty big tomboy growing up and I just never saw myself as the mommy of such girly girls!  Especially now that we are homeschooling, we just don't really have that many opportunities to dress up.  Our church is a bunch of families that are like our family and we just meet in  different homes so there is no dress code there.  Anyway, we had some friends from the states visit this past weekend and we took them out to a nice Lebanese restaurant and got to get all dressed up.  Took a few pics since it's such a rare event these days. 

It scares me to look at pictures of my oldest baby.  Abbey will be 11 in September and I still can't believe it!   I still don't really see it but here's a great one for all of you who know me growing up and swear she is my twin.  We didn't plan it but we're photo negatives in this picture.  I'm afraid we've almost reached the stage where she will be wanting to borrow my clothes and shoes (and earrings since she just got her ears pierced..)

And of course, there has got to be one of Naomi being a clown.  I wish you could hear the dialogue that she had going with the poses she was striking... 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Resurrection Cookies

My mom sent me the recipe a few years ago for "resurrection cookies"- you've probably heard of them.  You make them with the cakes and each step is significant in telling the story of the resurrection.  For example, vinegar is the bitterness of the death on the cross, egg whites represent the purity of God's love.  I've never made these with the girls, always intended to but it's just never happened.  I decided this year was the year, especially since Naomi is at the age where she can be more aware of the spiritual side of the Easter story and can maybe begin to understand it.  Also, we've had some really sweet moments the past few days with the older girls explaining to her what Easter means, how much God loves her etc. 

So, last night we began the cookies with Maddie and Naomi doing the steps of the recipe and Abbey reading the Scripture that went along with each step.  Save a few minor distractions, Naomi seemed to follow the whole process pretty well.  For those of you who don't know, the last step of these cookies involves putting little mounds on the cookie sheet, explaining that these mounds represent where Jesus was buried and then shutting and sealing the oven door.  You then turn off the oven, leave the cookies overnight and the next morning, they have ideally expanded to form an empty, meringue type shell which on Easter morning represents the empty tomb.  Well.     So after we shut and sealed the oven door and I was beginning to clean up, Naomi asked me for a marker saying she wanted to make a list (a standard fave activity these days).  After a few minutes, I asked her what her list was about and she says,  "I'm making a list about how we just cooked God."   

Unfortunately in the Cox kitchen, it seems the visual cookie picture just might not be complete....  If you've had a week like I've had, you just might not beat the meringue for the 12-15 minutes that it says to beat it if it seems to have formed stiff peaks before hand.  Unfortunately this seems to have been a crucial step in the process as I just checked and we don't have empty tombs in our oven, we have flat, squishy messes.  Thankfully, in our real lives, God does not remain "cooked", He is very much alive and well, let's just hope I can convince Naomi of that!