Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Autumn's Baptism at the Beach

Last Sunday, Autumn Brooke was baptized in the Pacific Ocean by her pastor, Phil, and her grandpa Hodge. She said she wanted to be baptized "to show the world that I am a Christian."

It was a cold, windy day at Hollywood Beach in Oxnard, California, but Autumn and three others braved the chilly water to be baptized. As Autumn came up out of the water, it struck me that this was my last child to be baptized. It was a moment I will never forget. For Eric and me, it was a ceremony, a rite of passage, that we have always wanted for our daughters. For Autumn, it was a declaration, not of independence, but--in the words of Steven Curtis Chapman-- "a declaration of dependance on the one who gave his life" for all of us. To say that "I am proud of Autumn" would be weak words indeed because the feelings I had on Sunday were much more powerful; feeling of thankfulness to God for bringing our daughters this far and a feeling of joy for Autumn's decision to follow God. Below are a few pictures and a very short video of the baptism.
The family at Hollywood Beach

Phil, Autumn and Papa Hodge wading into the water.

Autumn being baptized.

Papa Hodge & Autumn.

Autumn & Pastor Phil.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First day of school

We started school today. The girls have been begging me for two weeks to begin, so they were very excited when today arrived! Here are a few pictures.

Moving up in the world!



The girls with Mom, their teacher. (Dad teaches math, but he played hookey today and went fishing.!)

The girls and their reading tutor, Joanne, with some of the students they will be in class with a few hours a week.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Anniversary, Airplanes, Awards, Bats, Books, Balls, Horses, Henna, Weddings, Wardrobe

Our Summer in Pictures...

We celebrated our 18th Anniversary in Santa Barbara, stopping on the way down to eat lunch at a Greek roadside stand in La Conchita.
For Father's Day, we surprised Eric's dad with lunch in Ventura.
The surprise? Eric's two sisters, from Canada and Nevada, made the trip for the special weekend!

Papa Gow and the girls flew to Denver to stay with Auntie Deborah.

The girls stayed with Auntie Deborah (and Uncle Rich and Chloe the Wonder Dog) for two weeks. Christine joined them for the second week.

While in Colorado, the girls did many things, including making Bat Houses at Berry Patch Farms.

Christine and the girls were richly blessed while in Denver when they got to visit with their closest friends, the Frazees, whom they had not seen in more than four years!

Back in Ojai, the girls had tea with fairies and their friend, Gabi.

The girls went to Horse Camp for two weeks.
They learned about horses, got to groom them, walk them and--of course--ride them!

Amber hosted a Book Club every Monday.

The kids read and discussed "Treasure Maker," a book about finding their true identity in Christ.

We were blessed to be a part of our neighbor's Indian wedding celebration, which lasted all week!

At one of the nightly celebrations, Christine and the girls had Henna painted on their hands.

It was sad when, a week later, the Henna finally wore off!

The whole family joined our church friends at the County Fair one evening to watch the stock car races and cheer on Eric's business partner, Darren, in the Demolition Derby! He got 4th place out of 8.

The Barn Community (our church) played in a summer county soccer league. We ended the season with a perfect record: ZERO WINS! But we had fun. We were told over and over by other teams that we were the most fun team, and the best losers!

At an "awards ceremony" at The Barn, everyone received awards. Eric got MVP for scoring one of only 3 goals that were scored the whole season!

Christine surprised the girls with a trip to Westmont College in Santa Barbara to see the wardrobe that was in C.S. Lewis' home in Oxford, England.

This is one of the wardrobes that was in Lewis' home when he wrote the Narnia series and it is said that this is the one on which he based "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe."

Just checking to see if we can get to Narnia.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lunch for Teddy

My friend, Susan, is visiting us from Thailand and today we took her to downtown Ventura to thrift store shop and go to the museum. As we were leaving the first thrift store, a man standing just outside the door asked us if we had a dollar to give him. I asked him if he was hungry and he said that he was, and so we walked next door to the Mexican restaurant and I ordered the man, Teddy, a burrito. Susan and the girls sat down at a booth and I waited to pay the cashier.

As we waited for the burrito to be made, Teddy told me that he was trying to get some money for two things: a haircut and food. He said, “I got enough money for the haircut and now I can eat. Thank you.” I noticed that he did look like he had just had a haircut, and I appreciated his honesty. He went on to tell me that he was very grateful for the food because he was very nervous about having to get a shot later today for the “voices in his head.” He said his case worker was going to take him to the doctor later and he is afraid of the big needle. I asked him if I could pray for him. He grabbed his burrito and we sat down in the booth with Susan and the girls. I asked if I could lay my hand on his shoulder and he said “yes.” I prayed for Teddy, for his upcoming doctor visit and for peace and then I prayed that he would make wise decisions today.

I said "Amen" and we said our goodbyes to Teddy and proceeded to walk across the street to the next thrift store. We were halfway through the crosswalk when I heard shouting. I turned to see Teddy waving his hands and shouting, “You left your purse! You left your purse!” It turned out that Autumn had left her purse, with her allowance money, in the booth at the restaurant. We walked back across the street and retrieved the purse. I was completely blown away by the fact that Teddy flagged us down and returned the purse, with the money inside. Now it was my turn to thank Teddy. That purse was particularly special to Autumn, one that could not easily be replaced. I was very grateful. As I retold the story to Eric tonight, it dawned on me that God had already answered one of my prayers. Teddy did make the right decision today by returning the purse.