With a thankful heart…

First off, I’d like to thank Debi C. for lending me the book by Amy Carmichael, Rose from Brier; what I’ve read and re-read has been a blessing and a huge encouragement.

A portion of a song that came to Amy C. while amidst great pain and a desire to be with her Fellowship, “Thou hast not that, My child, but Thou has Me, And am not I alone enough for thee? I know it all, know how thy heart was set Upon this joy which is not give yet. And well I know how through the wistful days Thou walkest all the dear familiar ways, As unregarded as a breath of air, But there in love and longing, always there. I know it all; but from thy brier shall blow a rose for others. If it were not so I would have told thee. Come, then, say to Me: My Lord, my Love, I am content with Thee.”

Thank you to Eric and Juana Quinlan for giving me a CD by Twila Paris, entitled, “He is Exalted.” My favorite song—although I love listening to them all—but the one that has stood out the most is, “God is in Control”:

This is no time for fear
This is a time for faith and determination
Don’t lose the vision here
Carried away by motion
Hold on to all that you hide in your heart
There is one thing that has always been true
It holds the world together

God is in control
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember and never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him, we know
God is in control

History marches on
There is a bottom line drawn across the ages
Culture can make its plan
Oh, but the line never changes
No matter how the deception may fly
There is one thing that has always been true
It will be true forever

He has never let yo down
Why start to worry now?
He is still the Lord of all we see
And He is still the loving Father
Watching over you and me

Another thank you to Beth C. for sending us the sermon by John MacArthur, entitled, “The Role of Suffering” from II Corinthians chapter 12. It was such a powerful message. One of the points he made was that trials serve many purposes, such as the following: To test our faith, to wean us off of worldly things, help us focus on eternal hope, to reveal what we really love, to teach us to value God’s blessing, to enable us to help others who suffer, to produce endurance, to humble us, or to break our confidence. They produce the broken and contrite heart God wants us to have. Another point is that God uses suffering to draw us to Himself. Suffering has a way of increasing and intensifying our prayer life. In II Co. 12:9, “… My grace is sufficient for you …” God doesn’t remove the issue of pain or trouble, but increases the grace He gives. He gives comforting grace in the midst of a trial. Encouraging grace in the midst of pain. A confident grace. In Deut. 33:26 it says He “rides through the heavens to your help.” There will always be sufficient grace to every issue. God doesn’t promise to remove your trouble, pain, etc., but promises to overwhelm it with grace. How wonderful is that? How wonderful, awesome, and powerful our God and Saviour is!!!!!

My God has given me a wonderful husband, who is stronger than he realizes. I thank Him for such a man that is faithful through it all. My kids are indeed a joy and a blessing, most of the time. From the silly things they say to the serious questions they ask. One of my favorite times with them is just sitting and listening to them sing along with the music that plays. What a joy to hear them sing praises to our God. He’s so very good. His provision for us, His loving care, His guidance and His continued mercy. One of my favorite verses is: Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are more valuable than many sparrows.
—Matthew 10:29-31

I praise God for His love that is shown through family and friends, with their continued prayers and words of encouragement and the many helpful things they do. Thank you to each of you. Thank you for showing me God’s love and your love, too.

Sledding (2005–2006)

We have been leaving our sleds out most of the winter as offerings to the snow gods. So far it has been working, although I had to correct the kids on making the proper offering. Scattering the toboggans about the yard is not the way to get the snow gods’ attention: One must place the sleds vertically, up against the deck or porch railing, as if ready for instant use. You don’t want to get rain all winter, do you?

This is Naomi’s first year sledding.

Above: NaNi, at the bottom of the hill after one of her first-ever sledding runs. “Again!”

Sledding was great last night at Roby Park, in Nashua, which is not far from our house! The snow was perfect for speed; we were getting within about 20 feet of the fence at the bottom of the hill. Conditions should be same for the next few nights; I can’t go tonight. I might go on Tuesday, but will probably have too much work.

Isaac was practicing on a $1, small, narrow snowboard we got at a yard sale—it’s amazing how quickly he learns. He had several runs where he made it almost completely down the hill. I wonder how he’d do on a larger board with boot clamps. David tried it sitting and laying down. Isaac also challenged us to race him, sleds versus feet. He’s fast.

Above left: Isaac’s Calvin & Hobbes snowman (2 heads, 4 arms, etc.).

Above right: Our three-toboggan sled train. NaNi is in the front, Doug is in the middle (and providing the steering), David is in the back.

Naomi was completely thrilled. She always wants to go from the very top of the hill. I hold her sled in front of mine, which provides excellent steering control. The second day we went sledding, someone bumped her, and she was noticably timid for the rest of that day; last night she was fine. She seems nervous still while we are getting in position. I reassure her by explaining what I’m doing. “I’m just getting onto my sled. Don’t worry, I won’t let go of you. Remember, we won’t move until you say, ‘Go.'” And then she counts down (or up), and calls out, “Go!” and we’re off! Her first word upon reaching the bottom is, “Again!” She burst into tears when I said it was time to go home.

Above left: In the Wilcox backyard, the natives are restless. Isaac uses his bow and arrow to enhance his Mutant Snow Goon.

Above right: Even though our sledding was done, and we were all a little wet and cold, NaNi insisted on continuing to play outside.

Earlier this year, I took some pictures, and even have a short video clip of one of Naomi’s first sledding runs (if for nothing more than freaking out Nichelle). I’ll have to see what’s worth posting. (Editor’s note: I looked; the video isn’t that great, and the photos are mostly dark or blurry. It was cold when I took them! I’ve added the one that was decent.)

(New photos above added January 25, 2006.)

Domestic Security Consultant Visits Wilcox Home

On Friday, the Wilcox family received a long-awaited visit from Clover, a border collie who is employed as a domestic security consultant north of here.

After an intimidating first meeting, Naomi and Clover became fast friends. NaNi adopted the same pose as Clover for all their photos together. (Note that Naomi is wearing some of her new Geekwear: a “Version 2.0” t-shirt.)

Clover presented on such important topics as stick-fetching, ball-fetching, stick destroying, Nerf-ball chewing, human herding, neighborhood patrols, criminal background checks, and indicating when one needs to use the little dog’s room. (I am told by Matt Camillieri that other canines, such as Winnie Sohmer, are not so good at communicating such a vital topic.)

Clover is a good dog.

What a terrific day!!!

Our 4th of July celebration started around 4-ish and went until 3 a.m.

We had a great time hanging out with the McGrath family and many friends. The food was delicious and the fellowship was wonderful. We had a very relaxing time.

Just like last year, we went to see the fireworks here in Nashua and I must say that they were the best I’ve ever seen. (Lolita, thank you so much for watching David and Naomi for us so I could go, too.) We had a great spot in the outfield at Holman Stadium, and what an amazing show it was!!! We bumped into several friends there.

[Added by Doug] Unlike last year, I actually got to see the entire fireworks display, instead of just what was visible four blocks away from my car, because Lolita McGrath offered to watch David and Naomi, thus allowing me to see the show along with Nichelle. (Nichelle had graciously offered to skip this year’s show so that I could attend.)

And the fireworks were indeed amazing! Sunday evening Isaac, John, and I attended the fireworks in Manchester, which were very, very good. The Nashua show was of much higher quality, although shorter in length, with every launch being a multiple burst. The fireworks were launched right overhead. It was stunning! Like Batman Begins, my only regret was that it had to end.

Once the fireworks show was over we headed back to our house for dessert. I made Bananas Foster, an incredible dessert that was kicked up a notch, thanks to Phil, who suggested we use a fried dough base he had at a restaurant instead of the sponge cake base.

As usual, we stayed up too late watching a movie which Phil “Movieman” Luchon brought over.

Goodbye to Los Quinlan

It’s a sad day for us, albeit for a good reason. Eric and Juana Quinlan, along with their sons James and John, are moving today to Georgia, to enroll in college for deaf ministries. Their goal is to work with ministries for the deaf in and around Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic.

Eric has been my closest friend since early high school, and our families are very close.

I was actually somewhat responsible for Eric meeting Juana, way back when she was Juana Evangelista del Corazón de Jesus Gonzalez Guerrero, but I will save that story for later.

We will miss them greatly.