Their house is spacious with plenty of room for them now and later when their adoptions go through. The bedrooms are so huge I laughingly told Julie they could have ten kids and not be crowded in this house! (When I told my mom that, she said, “Bite your tongue! Don’t give them any ideas!”) They are on almost an acre and a half of land, too, so there is plenty of room for the kids to run and play outdoors. What a wonderful place to raise a family!
Yesterday was the Fourth of July and we had a great day together. David cooked hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill at lunch time, Julie made homemade meatball and cheese cannolis for supper (they’re really cannelonis, for those of you who know the difference, but we’ve always called them cannolis), and we had fresh strawberry pies and blueberry cheesecake for desserts later. I had brought new matching patriotic T-shirts for all the kids and Uncle Robbie and Grandpa (or Boppa as they call him), too. Then when it got dark, Julie gave them red, white and blue glow-in-the-dark sticks and we played hide-n-seek in the pitch black with them. The climax came when no one could find Boppa and they all got too spooked to look for him. “He’s going to jump out and scare us when we find him!” the kids declared, all huddled together as they moved in a little clump to keep searching. Grandma joined their huddle and sure, enough, when we finally found him, he jumped out and scared us, and we all screamed like little girls! That was fine for Hannah, since she is a little girl, but the rest of us embarrassed ourselves big-time!
We also celebrated Joshua’s birthday yesterday. It is actually later in the month, but he wanted to do his birthday when Boppa could be here, too. Uncle Robbie gave Joshua a triple Slip-N-Slide for his birthday, and when the birthday gifts were all opened, I pulled out an extra surprise—huge Super Soaker water guns for all the kids, and David and Boppa, too! What better way on a hot, hot, HOT muggy afternoon in Alabama to cool off than to get wet, wet, WET!
Bob pulled off a surprise of his own! Out he marched from the bedroom in his swimming trunks, white skinny legs and all! He’d thrown his trunks into his duffel bag just in case he decided to take a turn on the Slip-N-Slide! I don’t think anyone had more fun in that huge water fight or throwing himself down the length of the Slip-N-Slide than Boppa! I got a big kick out of watching my husband have so much fun. And oh, the wonderful memories that were made yesterday! The kids will always remember this Fourth of July long after Bob and I are gone!
They are really sweet kids. Benjamin is eleven now, Joshua is about to turn nine and Hannah is five. They are so loving, and very well-behaved children, and really a joy to be around. Each one of them has a kind, compassionate heart and they are so good with Uncle Robbie. He’s all excited to be with them, too! Benjamin is his special buddy. Joshua and Hannah had special toys picked out to give to him when we got here—toys that they knew he could do on his own. They all play with him and aren’t afraid to get hugged a little too hard, have their hand squished, or wipe his drooly chin.
They are especially sensitive to the things of the Lord, too. They read their Bibles every day and really know God’s Word. It astounds me sometimes, the thoughtful, mature things that come out of their mouths about spiritual things. Julie and David have instilled in them a love for missions, as well. They get excited about missionaries who come to their church, and they jump right in trying to learn as much about their ministries and fields as they can.
Julie told me about an incident that happened last week when a certain missionary came to their church. It touched my heart, and I thought I would share it with you:
Jeff and Beverly Bellamy from Bristol, TN serve the Lord through Rock of Ages Ministries. From what I understand, they try to reach youth in public schools and prisons in what they call “prison prevention.” Part of their ministry is to give out Bibles to every young person they come in contact with in those schools and prisons. Jeff said he was in a school one day and there were over four hundred students to whom he was speaking. He ran out of Bibles and some of the kids left empty-handed. He had no money to buy more, and he went away just broken-hearted that he could not supply more Bibles. He asked the Lord to show him how he might be able to ask God’s people to help out with this and an idea came to him. He began asking the people in the churches where he spoke to look at the dollar bills in their wallets, and especially notice the serial number on each bill. Each serial number begins with a letter like D or K or I. Some bills start with the letter B, and Jeff asked those fellow believers to consider checking their dollar bills when they get them for serial numbers beginning with a B and then setting aside those bills to buy Bibles for his or other ministries. “B is for Bibles,” he said. “That will help you to remember!”
Benjamin, Joshua and Hannah were so excited by this idea that when they got home they raced for their banks to check their dollar bills. Joshua had been saving up for several months for something special, refusing to spend a penny on anything else, but when several of the thirty dollars he had saved had B’s on them, he didn’t hesitate to put them in a jar for the “B is for Bibles” project. None of Benjamin’s bills had B’s, but every twenty minutes Joshua would pester Benjamin to go check his bills again. Benjamin finally told him, “Joshua! Nothing’s changed! I haven’t earned anything else, and those numbers aren’t going to magically turn into B’s!” Hannah was disappointed that she didn’t have any B bills, either. The next day she asked her mother, if PLEASE could she give some bills that didn’t have a B? “Of course!” her mommy told her, so she gave all her bills, and over the next few days somehow came up with enough change to turn the other 54 cents she had into another dollar. Now the kids are reminding their parents every time they get change at the store or a restaurant to check for B is for Bibles bills, and praying that God will send more B-bills their way so they can give them away!
I love it that my grandchildren cheerfully, generously and sacrificially give to the Lord on their own, without any prompting from their parents. I love it that they have hearts that are easily touched by the spiritual needs of others, and that they can see the value of placing the Word of God in as many hands as possible. I love it that David and Julie are doing such a wonderful job of teaching their children and leading by example. I pray that as they grow up, they will continue to grow in faith, knowledge and compassion, as well.
May we each be like these children—full of faith, loving the Lord and His Word, with compassionate hearts, generous spirits, and mindful of the spiritual needs of others. And hey! Start checking your dollar bills for B’s! I’m sure a missionary you know could use them to buy Bibles! For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? (Romans 10:13, 14)