Local Ruins

There’s not much to explain on these pictures.

Awhile back we visited some local ruins with friends.

It’s now a place for locals and visitors to walk through history and learn more

or just have a picnic!

Local Ruins

Local Ruins

Huge pillars

Huge pillars

Oldest and Youngest

Oldest and Youngest

Grand

Grand

The kids loved to get out and burn energy climbing and exploring.

There aren’t many parks in this part of the country and we find this place so much better than a playground!

More of the structure

More of the structure

Tunnels, mosques, walls

Tunnels, mosques, walls

The city beyond

The city beyond

Rug Shopping

Goat & Sheep Hair Rug

Goat & Sheep Hair Rug

After My Love bartered and worked the prices down to a fair price for both,

we got 6-8 rugs! The above is one of them.

My long lovely kitchen rug

My long lovely kitchen rug

And I love this one as well!

Free toy tokens for kids

Free toy tokens for kids

For us, we went to a particular city known for it’s handmade rugs.

I wasn’t particular on buying used or new,

but I did want quality and good colors with middle eastern designs.

In most shops the kids were given chocolates or stuffed animals.

The salesmen know the kids can make or break a deal!

Made in a loom by hand

Made in a loom by hand

We spent the most time with one owner, I feel like his name sounded like Mustafa. Seriously.

And he was a character but quite friendly and generous.

This is his loom within his tiny store (step 6 feet further behind the camera and you are out the door).

The kids "thrilled" with seeing the loom.

The kids “thrilled” with seeing the loom.

Clearly the kids are hitting their final wall of smiling for people and cameras.

They were done being on display.

Working the crank to divide out the material for the rugs

Working the crank to divide out the material for the rugs

Mustafa even let us work some tool that helped him in creating the rugs.

Patiently Waiting outside a mosaic shop

Patiently Waiting outside a mosaic shop

Kids are welcomed in this culture but it’s still surprising for locals to see how many we have

because how many other crazy foreigners do you see traveling with 4 kids??!

And I’ll gladly take them to the moon and back because they are worth it and

traveling and learning and experiencing new cultures is worth it!

I’m Not Capturing Enough Pictures

Rainbow Chocolate Cake for Joyful

Rainbow Chocolate Cake for Joyful

I store memories in my mind but the visual reminders in picture form

are a cherished way to relive the treasured moments.

Sweet Cheeks Peek-a-boo

Sweet Cheeks Peek-a-boo

Could picture taking be a love form?

Double flower child

Double flower child

If so, I heap lots of love on my kids.

Throw rocks in the creek

Throw rocks in the creek

There are quiet moments when I spend all my energy focused on that specific emotion

and time

and individual.

Hallmark upside down

Hallmark upside down

And other times when I want to capture the essence in picture form.

IMG_8271

I am an amateur and I’ll keep on trying.

IMG_8787And this is just one way I show my love for the Creator and Giver of all Life.

Get Over the What-Ifs

What if I look silly?

Fierce Falcons Shot

Fierce Falcons Shot

What if the porcelain china breaks?

Jumping for Joy and Excessive Sugar

Jumping for Joy and Excessive Sugar

What if people don’t understand what I am trying to say?

Silly parental picture

Silly parental picture

What if we can’t speak the language?

Festive Mask

Festive Mask

What if the birthmother changes her mind?

Deep in Festive Thought

Deep in Festive Thought

What if my kid wears something that doesn’t match?

IMG_8400

Manly Fierce Falcons

Get over the what-ifs…they are holding you back.

Follow His calling and live in the Light.

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:5

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

*Pictures from Joyful’s birthday celebration. The theme was masquerade party!

A Biblical view of Stay-At-Home Moms

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S.Randall Photography

Before I share my thoughts, I want to be mindful of friends who are not able to stay at home.

I recognize their desire to love & care for their kids but the need for them to work full time outside the home.

Currently staying at home to care for our kids is one of the most important roles God has given me.

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S. Randall Photography The Third

In many ways our society discourages and demeans the work of stay at home moms.

However God sees mothering at home as a prestigious and very important work and uses this time to develop the fruit of the Spirit in ourselves and our children.

Full-time mothering is a period of life where you must lay aside many of your desires to devote your whole self into raising the future generation.

It involves cooking, feeding, cleaning, playing, organizing, driving, disciplining, mentoring, laughing, crying, comforting, reminding and hopefully a little sleeping, every single day.

Salary.com estimates that stay at home moms are worth 113,000 dollars annually.

Mothering is not a charity cause, it’s kingdom work.

It does involve a lot of self-sacrificing and sanctification on our part but the job is simple and eternal.

Mothers get to partner with God to share His Truth & hope to the youngest generation all day long and all night.

We have been given the responsibility & pleasure to raise our children and live out the Gospel to them.

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S. Randall Photography Joyful

Isn’t that wonderful news? I don’t have to be perfect. Christ died for the moms that mess up–BOTH the moms that stay at home and those that work.

The most important role as a mother is to recognize my sin and confess it, letting forgiveness and grace wash over me.

As I live out my faith and invite my kids in, they will witness what is essential in life.

Some exemplary mothers highlighted in the Bible provide us with clues on succeeding in such an intense task.

Hannah, who was accused of being drunk because of her fervent praying for a child became the mother of Samuel, one of the most influential priests to the Israelites.

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S. Randall Photography Boys

She prayed intentionally and intently.

Mary, the mother of Jesus was young and inexperienced yet God chose her to be the one to care for our Savior.

Luke 2:19 reads “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

She took note of the details in her son’s life realizing it was of great worth.

Exodus 2:3 says, “When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and dabbed it with bitumen and pitch.

She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank.”

Moses’ mother had to put her son up for adoption trusting God would care for her son.

S. Randall Photography Girls

S. Randall Photography Girls

These three mothers provide me with a few key reminders.

1. Pray without ceasing.

2.Be involved in your children’s lives.

3. At all times we must trust in the Lord, as we will be called to sometimes sacrifice our desires for the love of our children.

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S. Randall Photography Hallmark

One of the most vivid times this truth came to life for me, was while I was washing dishes.

One of my sons asked me to read him a book.

I replied that I didn’t have time.

To which he quickly replied, “ Oh Mama, I have time. I’ll give you some of mine.”

That’s just what I needed to be refocused.

Quality time with my children is of greater worth than checking another item off my to-do list.

S. Randall Photography B&W

S. Randall Photography B&W

Though I mess up more times than I care to remember, Romans 8:37-39 reminds me,

“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.

Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I think one of the greatest struggles stay at home moms deal with is loneliness.

Yes mothers are surrounded by children, but real Biblical community can be lacking in the homes for moms.

Titus 2:3-5 tells us “They [older women] are to teach what is good and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled,

pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”

We desperately need loving, gracious, experienced mothers to come along side and encourage us!

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S. Randall Photography Sweet Cheeks

We must continue to remind ourselves of God’s truth-our every day work is important, it’s kingdom work.

Let us not listen to our culture’s pressure to reduce our significant role in the world but uplift one another as the Bible says.

Every day presents new challenges, when to potty train your child, how to educate your children, what to say yes to and when to say no.

Our family has a lot of unknowns in our future.

We are planning to move to the Middle East, with the federal government financial problems and the sequestration,

my husband’s military career may end, we don’t know what tomorrow holds.

But we know who holds it.

So take heart moms,

“May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,

giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:11-12

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S. Randall Photography Kids Shot