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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Girl's Trip

Ella, Sara Wells and I headed to Knoxville for a girl's weekend.  We went to Knoxville for my cousin's wedding shower.  Amy now lives in New York and her fiance is a native New Yorker.  Amy went to Carson Newman and our mom's were raised in Virginia so they thought this shower was a great opportunity to introduce Lee (fiance) and his family to their southern roots.  The shower was at Maple Grove Inn, which is an old mansion in the middle of Knoxville.  It has been a long time since I have been there and I had forgotten how beautiful it is!  They have their own gardens where they get all of the vegetables that they cook with.  Needless to say, the food was delicious!

In honor of the southern Mansion the theme of the shower was an afternoon tea.  And we know that no southern lady shows up to a tea without her hat!

The Beautiful Bride

All of the Starnes girls

Ella and Sara Wells had some great granddaddy time!  The first thing Ella wanted to do was walk Roxy on the leash.  The leash was very important!

Saturday night everyone came over to my mom's for dinner and of course Aunt Becky brought a special surprise for Ella!  Paper Dolls have come a long way!  Now they are magnets and do not rip when you are trying to punch them out.  I remember always ripping the clothes when I tried to punch them out of the paper and being so sad.  That is no longer a problem for little girls.  

The only bad part about the weekend is that it went by so fast.  I so wish that we all lived closer and could get together more often!  I think the last time we were all together is for Ella's baby shower!

We had a wonderful girl's trip!  Ella had more sugar, chocolate and cookies than she has ever had in her life!  This week will be detox, but it was definitely worth it!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

To Infinity and Beyond

If you remember, Miller has recently become enthralled with Buzz Lightyear and Woody.  I think Miller has slept with them every night since he got them and they are never far from him when he is awake.  If he does not know where they are, he roams around the house saying "Buzz, Woody, where are you?"  It is pretty cute.  While we were in Ireland one of my mom's friends came a stayed with her a few days to help her with Miller and Ella.  She knew a quick way to Miller's heart!  My mom and Murray's mom kept talking about how much Miller loved Marty.  Of course he did, she gave him a Buzz Lightyear costume!  What else could a boy want?

"To Infinity and Beyond."  (I could not capture him zooming around, but that is what happens next)

We had the most beautiful day today!  The kids were actually ok with being outside for more than five minutes.  Since it was so pretty and the kids were loving being outside, we had a picnic in our driveway. They thought it was the coolest thing.  It is almost as if they have forgotten that it is fun to play outside.  This summer has been killer, but today we got a taste of the coming cool weather of the fall.
Funny story that I probably should not admit.  I decided that it would be way too much effort to try to feed Sara Wells outside, so I just fed her her bottle and a little bit of bread while we had our picnic.  My plan was to feed her once we got inside.  This afternoon when I was looking back at the pictures of our picnic I realized I never fed Sara Wells!  Whoops.  Sorry Little Bit!

Big news of the day, Sara Wells is now mobile!  For the past few days she has really been trying and moving a tiny bit.  But she really turned a corner today and now makes some serious forward motion!  And she is so proud of herself.  Ella and Miller think it is great right now.  They put toys in front of her to get her to crawl towards them.  I have a feeling they are not going to like it too much when she starts crawling to their things and messing up their toys.  I am sure that we are in for some fun filled days in the future!
A few last pictures of the day.  There was a huge fight over who was going to get to sweep up Miller's snack that he spilled.  If only the deep down desire to clean the house will last into their teenage years!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer Okra

There were two things I was most excited about in our garden.  Cherry Tomatoes and Okra.  Our cherry tomatoes never grew and we had to pull them up after about a month.  So then all my hopes went to our okra.  My dad always brings us the best okra from his garden all summer long.   All through the spring I was looking forward to having our own fresh okra.  By the end of June we just barely had tiny sprigs coming out for our okra.  I thought it was just because we planted our garden a little late and had high expectations for the rest of the summer.  Finally towards the end of July our okra plants looked like they were finally big enough to start producing okra.  Everyday I went out to check and still no okra, but it was promising.  Then one day we came home and as I am getting the kids out of the car I hear Murray yelling at something.  I walk around the corner and see that the deer have eaten half of the okra plants!  I could not believe it.  There were a few stalks left, so I did not loose all hope.  

The other day Murray came home and told Ella he had a big surprise for Mommy.  He pulled out one okra pod out of his grocery bag.  It was a little sad how excited I got for that one okra pod.  Since then, we have had two more.  So, 3 total okra pods :)  Hopefully we will have a few more.  

Since we did not have enough of our own, I had to break down and buy okra from the grocery store.  One of my favorite foods of the summer is grilled okra!  If you have not tried it, you should!  All you need is a grill pan, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Such a delicious treat of the summer.  Tonight Murray and I sat outside while he grilled the chicken and okra and we were not suffocating from the heat!  I don't know if the break in heat is here to stay, but we are soaking it up!  We had the best evening walk, it was only 88 degrees and felt like no humidity.  Who would have thought 88 degrees would feel cool?  Then after the kids went to bed we sat on the deck, had a glass of wine and enjoyed the nice summer evening while our delicious okra cooked on grill.  (the picture does not do the okra justice, my camera battery just died so I had to use my phone)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ireland Recap

How do I even begin to recap our trip?  We went for the second year to Greystones, Ireland.  One day when Murray went to visit a missionary, he passed this sign.  Greystones was voted the most liveable small community to live in in the world!  

Greystones is on the coast about 45 minutes south of Dublin.  We partnered with Greystones Presbyterian Church to put on Vacation Bible School.  The first cultural barrier we encounter was calling it VBS.  We made t-shirts for all of the kids, which they loved, but had no clue why we had VBS on the t-shirt.  Anyone who has seen The Holiday or Bridget Jones Diary should know that Vacation is called Holiday.  And why would they go to school in the summer?  Next year our shirts will say Holiday Kids Club.  

Before we left the states, we knew that God was going to do great things because Satan was very against us getting there!  Because of major weather delays, we did not even get out of Atlanta.  We left Birmingham only to get stuck in Atlanta.  Not only did we arrive in Ireland a day late, part of our group was joining us from Prague and their flight was canceled and they arrived a day late too.  Thank goodness we had planned to arrive a day early and did not miss the first day of VBS.  To say we missed a flight does not do justice to our flight experience.  At one point we were running through the airport while they were calling our names over the intercom, a total Home Alone moment!  As you might be expected, there was definitely some lost luggage.  What would a mission trip be without lost luggage?  Thank goodness all of the VBS made it.  Only two suitcases were lost and both arrived Monday morning(remember we left Friday).  Mine came as I was walking out the door to VBS.  

Lost luggage and travel delays were not Satan's only attempt to slow us down.  Almost everyone on the team got sick (that is why I am so late in posting this, I caught the cold when I got home).  One of the girls on our team was so sick she did not leave her room until Thursday!

But despite all his attempts, the spreading of the gospel could not be stopped!  We had an amazing trip.  We had probably a total of 65 kids that came to the kids club.  We had two separate clubs.  Kids 4-10 came in the morning and kids 10-14 came in the afternoon.  One really cool thing that we were not expecting is that by Wednesday most of the girls who were coming in the afternoon all came in the mornings also to help with the younger kids.  It was really neat to watch them take ownership and be so willing to help.  One of our biggest goals in going is to help build up the children's ministry at Greystones Presbyterian and to help the church gain recognition in the community.  Greystones Presbyterian church is 160 years old.  Sadly, as most evangelical churches in Ireland, the membership has dwindled down as well as the spiritual well being of those members who are left.  3 years ago Monty and his wife Gwen came to Greystones and Monty preaches the word!  No one can leave that church without hearing the gospel presented clearly.  Going back this year was so amazing to see how the Lord has used Monty to bring people to the church.  Just from being in church on Sunday, it seemed like the congregation had almost doubled.  And from the stories, the spiritual health is growing at an amazing rate.  So, one of the most exciting things for the team to watch this week was how excited all the parents were about the club and the interest that they showed in the church.  We got more invitations for lunch and dinner than we had time available (last year we did not get one invitation).   I don't say that to toot our own horn, I tell you that because that was one of the biggest signs to us that we were making a difference in the families of Greystones.  Our prayer is that Monty and Gwen and the members of Greystones Presbyterian will have the opportunity to follow up with all of the families that came and build relationships with the families.  We know many of the kids came from families that are not believers.  Continue to pray for the spread of the gospel throughout the community of Greystones.  And for Monty as he faithfully preaches the gospel.

This is the view out of our bedroom window (ridiculous I know!).  All the construction is the harbor, they are working on a big new harbor.  Sadly there was very little progress from last year.  Their economy has been hit much harder than ours.  This is actually one of the ways that the Irish are starting to see that they have a need for a Savior.  They have had a booming economy and had no need for a Savior, life was good and they had everything they needed.  But this collapse in their economy has begin to show them that they are needy.

Singing with the younger kids
The sweetest family!  Amelie and Viggo were in my small group.  I wanted to pack them up with me and bring them home.
Everyday we walked the kids from the church down to the field at the YWCA.  Once huge miracle of the week is that there was no rain!  We were able to go outside and play everyday.
4 Square was the favorite game of the older kids.  I definitely got all my couped up competitiveness out.  The kids caught on very fast and loved getting us out.
Thursday night we had our second annual Southern Bar-b-que.  everyone loved it.  Last year we were blown away that we had 80 people there.  This year we had at least 130 people!  I would say of the people there only about 20 were members at the church.  Mark and Murray perfected our smoker this year which made for much easier smoking.  You could smell the pork cooking for blocks all day long.  (i love at the bottom of this picture you can see Murray taking a picture of the smoking pit)

All in all, a great trip!  Cannot wait to go back next year.  Thank you for all of your prayers.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Murray and I are headed off to Greystones Ireland on a mission trip for the next 10 days.  Please pray for all of the children and their families who will be attending the VBS.  Last year several children and parents became Christians!  Please pray for many more to come to know the Lord.  Last year we had about 30 kids from the community who were not involved in a church at the VBS.  It is an amazing opportunity to teach the children and their parents about the Lord.  I will have pictures when we return, will not have access to internet there.

The kids are having Camp Granna this week.  It started very early this morning.  They are already having a blast!!!


Murray's granddad went to be with the Lord last night. PawPaw would have been 94 this Saturday. What a birthday present, to be singing with the angels worshiping God in heaven! We have tears here for the man we love, but we know exactly where PawPaw is and that is something to rejoice about. Death is always a reminder of what our life should truly be about. Our life here is only preparation to spend eternity in heaven with our Father.

PawPaw is a pillar of faith for the Lee Family. He represents generations of Lee's who have loved the Lord. What a heritage he has left his children, their children and our children.

4 Generations of Lee Men

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Just in Case You Were Wondering...

If the fire alarm is pulled, the fire department still has to come even if you call them and let them know it was just pulled by a child.

How do I know this? Miller pulled the fire alarm at church today!
The good things:
Miller pulled the fire alarm after church was over
For some reason there was not a loud alarm going off, there was just a voice over a speaker saying "emergency, evacuate immediately." I don't even think Ella and Miller noticed what was going on.
The fire truck did arrive very promptly, but I don't think that Miller or Ella had a clue that the fire truck arriving was connected to Miller pulling the bright red handle that was just his height.

So, hopefully Miller will not do this again! The odds are much higher since he did not connect the fire truck with the alarm. I do have to say I kind of saw it coming. Miller has been eyeing that bright red handle for several weeks. After church I tend to be a little distracted, but usually I get to Miller before his curiosity takes over. Did not catch Miller fast enough today. I was actually already out the door when he pulled the alarm. One thing is true, Miller keeps us on our toes. Never a dull day at the Lee House!