Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My "Broken Hallelujah"

Life right now is HARD!  Medical issues are causing heartache.  Surgery is imminent.  Having coded before due to a lack of communication when coming out of the anesthesia after a surgical procedure, surgery SCARES me!  Heart ache with loved ones and friends is running rampant.  I have friends that do not know what the future holds for them - where they are going to live or get their next meal.  I hurt for so many people and have cried so many tears for each of them.

But no matter what, I know my God rises above it all!  Romans 8:28 says "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose."  And in James 1:3-4, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." (Both are NKJV)

Some how, some way, through all the pain and tears, I will continue to grow and He will use my journey for the good - for the glory of His Kingdom.  Is there any greater joy than to be used for His purposes!?!?

As I was pondering these thoughts, I was playing on you tube - and came across this song - "Broken Hallelujah" by the Afters.  All I can say is "Lord, hear my heart.  Use me Father.  Use these trials for Your good and the glory of Your Kingdom!"

Festival of Lights 2013

A few years ago, friends of ours got us started on going to the Festival of Lights on New Years Eve.  For those unfamiliar with this, the Festival of Lights is a driving tour to see thousands of lights, as well as the opportunity to park and see homemade gingerbread houses, giant greeting cards, a sand sculpture (umm yeah - that says sand and not snow), and more.

Christmas at the Zoo

Yes, I know this post is extremely late, but what can I say!?!?  Life has been hectic :)  Anyways....

One of our favorite Christmas traditions each year is to visit the local zoo.  We enjoy visiting the animals during the day, usually grab some food from a local restaurant for dinner, and then head back to the zoo for their special Christmas light hours to enjoy all the lights they have up.

Here are the kiddos when we first went in.  We decided to visit the bird house first.  First up were the flamingoes.

The penguins are an absolute blast to watch!  The kids like trying to keep up with them as they swim - normally they can't.

W6 absolutely adores birds.  As such, we spent a lot of time examining the different species there at the zoo, comparing and contrasting their sizes, colors, habitats, food preferences, eggs, etc.

Do you know the difference between apes and monkeys?  Apes do not have tails, while monkeys do.  Along with this, apes swing from tree to tree, while monkeys jump.  In addition, generally speaking, apes are more intelligent and curious.

There is something beautiful about the large felines.

Koala bears, which are actually not bears at all, are one of my personal favorites.  These marsupials are known for eating eucalyptus leaves, which are actually poisonous to most animals.

Feeding cups of nectar to the lorikeets is always a "must do."

B2 absolutely loves cows and farm animals.  He actually has a stuffed animal cow that he has fittingly named "moo."  This cow only enjoyed being messed with so long - and then she slammed her head into the gate.  And yet, she then put her head over it, wanting to be loved on again o.O  The goats wanted to be fed and petted something fierce!  We pray that one day we might be able to have our own farm critters :)

Here are some of the Christmas decorations set up for the year.

The zebras and ostriches are in a fenced in area together.  I have yet to research how they benefit one another, but I'm sure there must be something to it...

Feeding the giraffes is another favorite activity.  Their looooooong tongues always get the kids excited. Similarly, visiting the elephants is also exciting.

At our zoo, there is a large fenced area that contains kangaroos and wallabies.  The neatest thing about this is that you literally get to walk through it - there are no fences or barriers between you and these marsupials!

What is a trip to the zoo without seeing the bears?  It amazes me how friendly they look, yet I certainly would not want to meet up with them in the wild.

With W6's interest in birds, we decided to go to the owl show.  They are such beautiful birds!

And here are more Christmas decorations...

Yet another wonderful Christmas-time trip to the zoo :)