To celebrate this huge milestone, Dean secretly booked our family a surprise getaway. Yes...yes he did. And it just so happened to be at one of my favorite places on earth. Lincoln City, OR. Oh..this place is almost perfect. Perhaps as perfect as it gets on the west coast.
He booked a house overlooking the ocean for 3 nights. It was amazing. The cutest cabin ever...and yes we all fit! It was beautiful. And it truly truly overlooked the ocean. Not from a distance...but right there.
When we arrived I really had my hand over my mouth and was speechless. The sun was shining (miracle in itself) and it was ... really surreal.
What a welcome! So incredible!
Our second morning:
Outside the restaurant where we had an amazing lunch:
Taizi was given cool cement blocks to play with which was awesome...until he decided to try eating them..
The beach in the rain!
Izrael was so sad that piggy was getting wet;)
All 10! The most amazing children...ever.
Oh yes. Ocean is pure splendor for me. It's as close as I'll get to Heaven...this side of it.
Chazano is such a great big brother. Loves the little kids.
It was new. So Taizi didn't love it. Here he looks calm but he screamed a lot.
Yes. Seriously. From our living room!
Little bliss herself. Miss Izrael Promise.
Eating m&m's while Daddy buys a kite for a windy day!
Izrael could hardly contain herself when Mommy drew piggies in the sand!
Love this picture of Dean holding Nazara
And our last night we did an amazing fire on the beach.
This is the night. The night we did the fire. Dean had a very amazing moment when he left us by the fire and walked over to the waves holding Nazara. Talking with God. He came back and I knew it was our last night so I went. Oh.
The ocean. There must be an ocean in Heaven. The power of each wave...is so much louder than any issue in my life and I feel so small and insignificant standing there.
The noise as each wave crashes on the sand.
But this night it was windy. Cold. Dark. Spray was in the air. I could still see the white caps with each crashing wave.
I looked out. As far as I could see. Water. A mass of water I couldn't begin to comprehend. The sound of each wave putting me in awe of it's creator.
"God...it's hard..." I began.
And instantly He spoke. That still small voice that is unmistakeable.
"Oh Janice. I have called you to great things..."
And I can still feel that moment. My eyes got wider. My heart fluttered. I smiled on the inside...there's no doubt. And while I'm briefly wondering what these great and mighty things are...
He spoke again.
"Great sacrifice..." I'm sure my countenance changed. "what...? Great sacrifice...?" and as I'm still talking I hear "Great surrender..." ..."surrender...?"
"Yes..and great faith".
And for a brief moment in time...standing in awe of such power...I got a glimpse of Heaven.
The reward for great surrender isn't here. It just isn't.
The reward for great sacrifice isn't here and now. It just isn't.
And the reward for great faith most definitely isn't here. It just ... isn't.
What a perspective change I had from just a few moments earlier.
Wouldn't you love to hear God has great things for you? I mean...this was amazing. I was so excited. We all want great things. My imagination was racing at full speed...dreaming...
and then He spoke and told me what those great things were.
And yes....with the strength of each wave that continued to come...I knew...perhaps it's only begun. God has been gracious enough to let me think that the surrender was in saying 'yes'. Oh...that was only the beginning.
It's hard. Taizi is hard. Yet I've never once doubted if He called us to Him. I'm not sure I've known why...why us. Yes...he's a precious little soul. There's no question. There's also no question we have a full plate and he takes a lot of care.
Have I viewed the daily surrender of myself as a 'great thing'...? Hmmm. I doubt it.
The daily sacrifice? The faith it takes each day...?
My eyes were wet. Not just from the salted mist. Wet. With tears...of acceptance. Again.
If only that veil was lifted and we could see just how 'great' of things these really are.
My dreams? My idea of 'great things'...? Definitely not.
But I'll again take the leap of faith ... to trust Him that these are not only 'great things'...but the greatest of things.
I walked back to Dean...silent. All night...in the morning...the entire drive home...I heard over..and over...and over...and over...that voice that I heard overlooking one of my favorite places on earth...
"Oh Janice...I have called you to great things..."