Saturday, January 29, 2011

fire and water

we were awoken early this morning 
(3:45am to be exact)
 firemen and neighbors warning of a large fire 
on the mountain
behind our house.
only a bit earlier i had awoke to the smell of smoke 
and thought...
i should check this out, only to doze back to sleep.
fire seems to come often around here, but this time was different.

the men insrtucted us to gather 
important documents, medicines, the children, etc
and be ready if they come thru for evacuation.

joey went out front with the neighbors, firemen
in the street 
and i watched the red glow, smoke, and lights from the fire trucks 
on the mountain right behind us.

it was eery. 

just in case...
and because i'd rather be safe than sorry,
i grabbed one of our famous orange crates 
and threw in medicines, 
clothes for the kiddos,
clothes for joe and i,
computers, camera,
and other things to help us get by
if the worst was to happen.

by 5:30am joe and i were so tired we laid down
fully dressed and slept
knowing the firemen camped out front would alert us if needed.

3 helicopters 
are circling above our house 
repeatedly gathering up water
 from the atlantic ocean in front of us 
and flying over the house to the mountain behind us
for water dump after water dump.

and so, 
up we were
kids and all 
(luckily we never had to wake the kids last nite)

taking pictures,
waving at the firemen, 
and choppers

as they put out the fire 
that came 
entirely to close for comfort.

and so, as i claim every day, there is never a dull moment around here!

thanks to all who prayed for us last nite.
it is such a wonderful blessing
to know those who love and care for you
are calling on the Lord in your behalf.

today we are so thankful.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

simple oxymoron

a post with absolutely no depth or spiritual enlightenment.
yet one that describes our family in a small way.

cheers to another 1st in SA...
have you ever used fast as a description of a turtle?

we have!

joe found this guy making record time across our back yard.

serious business folks. he was halling!

the kids are all up in the wild animal business
and are still awaiting their lion encounter in africa.

for now, we will stick with a new variety of turtle,
though looking similar to our turtle friends back in TN,
BUT would no doubt win the race!

and absolutely not,
did Briley's lips actually touch an unknown species
(atleast to us americans who have never seen a turtle this shockingly fast)
of turtle in SA...

here's to simple joys for the children.

Monday, January 24, 2011

it's time for...


after 8 months of loving life with mom,
after moving around the world,
playing hard for a second summer,
and watching big bro and sis start school


barron got his chance!

it was off to new school
where there is an awesome playground,
ride on toys,
and friends his age.

he has been begging for school for quite some time
and this morning he was sitting on ready.

that was until...
we got there
and he decided he wasn't sure mom and bristol needed to leave him there.

after some true vocalization of his dislike,
mommy left.
lo and behold,
he settled
and had a blast!
of course.

pretty sure the handoff will accompany tears tomorrow
even though he claims otherwise.
but no worries!
he only had happy, happy, good things to say about
his day, teacher, friends, fun,
motorcycle, playground,
and well...every part!

hip hip horray for 3 of the 4 munchkins in school
boy oh boy oh has been a long time coming!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

1st day of school~SOUTH AFRICA

first day of school in 3 months
second time this year to start grades 1 and 3
first time to wear uniforms
first time to attend school in another country
first time to attend classes that were all boys or all girls

schooling it up south african style.
which means rules and more rules.
rules about clothing=uniforms
rules about boys hair= no surfer hair for brax anymore
rules about jewelry=which is hard on my bri
rules about shoes=new knock off crocs or get shoes at all is legal!

briley in her new grade 3 class...
she loved her teacher,
her class,
her first day.

brax in his new grade 1 class...
only a glimpse of anxiousness
and afterwards we got an "it was awesome"

i love their teachers (praise)
and the smiles (praise) from the kiddos
after their first day of school here in SA!

thanks to all who said sweet prayers for them today.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

immeasureably more

now to Him who is able 
to do immeasureably more 
than we ask 
or imagine,
according to the power at work within us,
to Him be glory 
in the church and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations,
forever and ever. amen.
ephesians 3:20

and so it seems that every where i turn these days. this is the verse i see.
serious business.
it is popping up everywhere.

i first felt the Lord give me this verse when my SS Class back in the States
asked us to share with the class a verse on our hearts for a memorization project.
God led me to this one (and yes, the class did notice it was quite long).

i didn't know then,
well...not totally, that this would be a theme verse of mine.

God keeps putting this verse before me

as His gentle reminder

that He is able to do
immeasureably more than i can ask or imagine.
immeasureably more.

yes Lord, this reminder is what i need.


and then there is more,
this little comforter of a verse...

and my God will supply 
every need of yours 
according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus
philippians 4:19

do i really trust?
yes, i must. i do.
thank you Jesus.

prayer requests.
*big kids start school tomorrow. 
pray for adjustment, teachers, friends, confidence, blessing.
*joe has some crazy eye infection.
pray for healing and that no germs would spread to those around.
*bristol's visa.
pray that we find favor and that finances will work out.
it seems to be more exspensive and extensive than we thought possible.
(yes, once again we are dealing with paperwork on our princess.
she came over on a different visa than the rest of us, 
related to us not getting her uspassport until hours before we left the country.)

and praise.
in case you haven't heard...
our car, aka alex rover, is back.
cost us an arm and leg, but she's back.
still got some minor kinks, but she drives. 
praise God! one more time. praise God.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


tonite as i walked home from the market near our house with our milk
my mind was swirling as it often does.

i looked up at the mountain chain in front of me and what caught my eye
was the clouds pouring over it.
blue sky with puffy, stringy, hazy clouds.

clouds rolling along at the pace of a second hand keeping time.
i started to count one one thousand, two one thousand...
and it hit me...

these are the seconds
of my life,
of the lives of my husband, children, and all those around us.

and they are moving at a pace of 3600 seconds/hour.
there is no time to fret or worry.
God tells us that.
worry is only wasteful.
(and it is something i do so well).

and so
i chose today to praise Him for all that is around me.
praise Him for the blessings He provides each moment.
i chose to find the good.
i chose to love my kids and enjoy each second.

yes, there are worries in our life right now,
there will always be.
each one of us has something they are dealing with at any given moment
but God is over each and every one of them.

and so
i will
look around me
and see God's glory and grace
and love and blessings
His hope, peace, joy.

i will trust in my Saviour.

as spiritual battles war all around,
i take comfort in knowing the battle
over darkness has already been won.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

surf's up

one of the perks of serving by the sea...


after months of talking about it
today was the day

surf lessons for 2.

had to put this pic in for the sole purpose of the
chiseled physique in the background
shirt tucked into speedo and all. ha.

Brax has claimed surfing was his gig for months.
he wasn't lying.
up he went on his first try.
semi-professional is the title we shall give him.

Bri would not be outdone.
though he was up first
she stayed the course surfing for 2 hrs.

these guys were awesome and joe and i are fired up
about our surf club we are starting in the lankford household:)

on the bum side...
our day turned a bit hectic as our car key malfunctioned due to ocean water
and a tow truck and entirely too much cash became the end to our day.
please pray we will get the key situation worked out quickly and cheaply
as we are only a one car family and now we are a none
(besides the ones are amazing friends are loaning us for a bit).

Friday, January 7, 2011

two too many (beware)

our first encounter was with a baboon 
that had raided our neighbors cupboards and upon being caught
jumped the fence into our yard to enjoy his treats
while the kiddos were playing in the back yard.
our gardener saved the day by shooing him off.
by the way...he was atleast my size.

our second encounter 
came when our gardner goes into our shed (called windy house here)
and comes running out saying snake.
he refuses to go back in.
joey comes home for lunch and they begin
the attack.
it takes about an hour and the total cleaning out of the shed to find
to find the sneaky snake. 

joe kills him with a shovel. 

out to the road he goes.
only to be picked up by a man and taken up the street
where the neighbor shouts...

he is a cape cobra!

poisonous and so not good.

what's up with the critters today?
two is two too many.
and so the adventure continues...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

the VIDEO...bringing bristol home

6 months ago TODAY
we met our daughter Bristol after months and months of waiting.

below is
the video of that journey
(yes, i know, it's been 6 months BUT...
we have moved around the world since then
on top of adding our precious baby girl to our family).

please take time to watch it,
you will be blessed.
( on the 4 arrows in the bottom right corner to watch it full screen)

Bringing Bristol Home... from Courtney L on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

what a year

was a year full of transition,
change, adjustment, reorder,
evolution, transformation...
you name it!

and honestly, i was thinking...
will this coming year be boring
since last year most everything in our lives changed?!

and in my quiet moments with God
He gave me the answer.
if we continue to seek Him
there will never be boring.
God isn't boring.
there is so much work to do,
people to love,
world to see,
hearts to listen to and fill,
Jesus to share.

complacency is man made
not God given.

and now for a  re-cap of 2010

welcome a year of following God

spent several wks in Colorado at MTI for mission training
where we learned so much and met amazing folks
it was the first step that made our journey to SA more real
i look back and see how much our weeks there grew me in so many ways

received our referral after 18 months of waiting
on April 15
for our 9 month old new daughter

first court date in Ethiopia for Bristol fell thru

June 16 passed court...we are now a family of 6
fundraising goes into full force
found out my sister and bro in law are adopting!

the 4th of July we met our Bristol for the first time and she is forever in our arms
July 11 returned home to the U.S. greeted by an incredible crowd
and introduced Bristol to our family and friends

kids start school just for a couple of months
adjusting to being a mommy to 4 (busy!)
felt so deeply the sting of death in the loss of our cousin baby bane

pack and clean out (good gosh...what a job)
apply for international documents
Bristol's readoption in the states

move out of our house
into Joey's parents
and on October 22
head out for SA
leaving family, friends and all we know
(except for our sweet mamas and some luggage)
via a stop in London
and arrive in SA on October 27

find a house in SA for our family to settle in except can't move in yet
drive on the wrong side of the road and car
learn new currency
learn new culture (still learning)
tell our moms goodbye (hard stuff)
start meeting new friends
Joe starts working at Living Way
enroll kids in schools here, but they don't start until Jan

after 7 moves since we left our home in TN
we finally moved into our permanent home here
first Christmas ever away from family

is that all?
can i say CHANGE?

God has carried us every step of the way
and blessed us beyond measure.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

We look forward to continuing our journey with Christ,
continuing to build our relationship with Him,
and loving those around us.

May we be vessels so filled with His love that it sloshes out on those He leads us to serve.
May we be the aroma of Christ.

we plan on making the most of it!

and i must leave you with a pic, of course!