Sunday, February 20, 2011

Part 2 of update

PART 2 Carter Newsletter continued.
At the end of July and 1st of August, I decided to take the kids on a last minute 10 day vacation to Panama City Beach and Orlando before School started back. My parents flew in and spent most of the week in Orlando with us and we had a great time. There was lots of swimming and movie watching. Andrew, Graham, Ben and Nathaniel took off one day to Blizzard Beach and had the time of their lives. We did not mention to the little kids that Disney World was nearby. :-) ( What they don't know won't hurt them!) shhhh! We enjoyed the time we spent with Nana and Papaw.
This fall, I received my Chaplain certification which will allow me to go into places to minister that I normally would not be able to go into. I had been looking into this for quite some time and decided to go ahead and pursue it.
School started the second week of August and that is always a crazy time of the year. Buying school supplies and figuring out schedules always overwhelms me at the beginning of the year. But we survived and got past it. We enrolled Graham in the City Schools in 8th grade and Andrew entered 5th grade, Allenni entered 3rd, Eli entered 2nd in the County school and Isaiah entered preschool in a private school. So we had 3 different schools with three different schedules! Once school started that pretty much consumed our lives. The younger kids, Eli, Allenni and Andrew played Soccer and so those games and practices kept us going for a few weeks.
In September, Duane and I led a team of leaders from our church on trip to Redding, CA to attend a week of intensive training in transformation and strategy for leadership. It was an incredible week of learning and experiencing things of God. I don't think any of us came back untouched and unchanged by that week.
After returning from CA, In early October, Duane and I spent a week in Sevierville,TN and drove to Knoxville, TN to attend another conference where we enjoyed hearing Alberto and Kimberly Rivera, United Pursuit, Heidi Baker and Bill Johnson.
The little kids experienced real trick or treating for the first time thanks to my older kids who took them out as I wasn't feeling well. They thought it was heaven and couldn't believe that you just knocked on people's door and they loaded you up with candy! We had 3 huge pots of candy! Talk about chocolate high!!!
In November, I think we stayed home!!!! haha. But we did celebrate the final adoption of Andrew, Allenni, Eli and Isaiah! They officially became American Citizens and we were so happy to get this all behind us!!!! We celebrated with a Big Party and had lots of friends stop by to congratulate them. I fixed lots of "American" and Red, White and Blue food. We also enjoyed our family tradition of carving pumpkins and cooking pumpkin stew and this year I came up with a White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake. Duane and I also had the privilege of speaking at a local church about our heart for orphans. You can watch the video I made for that presentation here
Duane and I finally completed our training in a two year course called "Redeemed Lives" where we logged in over 200 hours learning how to minister to the Inner Healing of those who have suffered abuse, rejection, loss and addictions. We learned a lot about ourselves as well as how to help others. If you would like to know more check out their website:
Of course December brought Christmas and our family ended up in the paper in an article about celebrating different traditions at Christmas time. You can see the article here:
We had a great Christmas, I think one of the best ever. Some of the kids were in a play at church and they totally enjoyed that. We celebrated with Duane's family at Christmas and with my family for the New Year. So on top of the "normal" activities that happen in a family, that is what we have been up to. The three younger kids continue to adjust to us and we all to them and we definitely have clashes in personality happening on a continuing basis. This sometimes wears on me and I can get a little frazzled at times. God is teaching me daily how to lean on Him for wisdom and strength though sometimes I don't always do that.
It finally dawned on me one day after an extremely wearying day that I have 6 firstborns living under one roof! They all want to lead and nobody wants to follow! We are working through all of that! If you have seen any of my Facebook status', you will know that I at times refer to things happening in the Carter UN. I try to keep an outlook of humor or I might cry!
Anyway, Our year ahead in 2011 is filled with lots of plans and new things. Duane and I decided in November to take a plunge and do what our hearts had been telling us to. He resigned from his job as a Pediatrician here in Florence and we decided to move to CA. With our house almost being completed for us to live in, this sounded crazy I know. But after much prayer, we felt God saying to us, "What do you dream to do?_Then, do it. Follow what your heart and soul are telling you to do. I have bigger plans and though you don't see the big picture, I do." So with a step of faith, we made the decision to move to Northern California. We really can't explain it except to say, we feel a little like Moses or Abraham, stepping out and not knowing a lot of things but trusting God with what to do next. It has been a amazing to watch how God is tying up loose ends for us, how he is providing for us and how he is lining things up for us. Last week, Duane signed with a Medical practice for this incredible job only 15 minutes from where we wanted to live, when we had been told by numerous agencies that there were no Pediatrician openings in the area. The way it came about was definitely God setting it up. We think we found a house there that will fit our family and we just know God is going to be faithful to work things out with our house here in Florence. We have made plans to leave on June 10, 2011. Everyone is excited about this move and we are definitely excited about the church we will be attending. Here's their website.
At first we were going to drive but after crunching numbers, we decided that flying everyone out there would be a lot less expensive. We have been busy thinning out our belongings and trying to pack up what we don't need. Packing up a house of 11 is no easy task, let me tell you!
On top of that, I have two new businesses launching in the Spring! Keep a watch out for the announcement for those. I am very excited about how God is broadening my horizons with my art and orphan outreach ministry. I also have in the works several e-books that will be coming out this year. I will try to keep everyone informed with updates. Thanks to all of you whom I know pray for our family faithfully. Your prayers are a tremendous help and encouragement to us as we deal daily with the issues of life that come from adopting kids who have lots of traumas and rejection in their past. I can tell you that God carries them and ministers to us through you. I never forget that you are there praying.
We hope your New Year is filled with incredible blessings and favor of God. We pray that God will surprise you and that you will be aware of his goodness all around all the time. One truth we have grabbed on to this year is that God is God. The enemy is no competition for Him. God is good and we are no longer under the law but under Grace which abounds indefinitely. There is no fear in Love, and God is Love. Our sole purpose in life, is to seek and know that LOVE of our lives, God's face. Then, " All these things will be added to us".
I challenge all of you this year to spend some time with God, just sitting in his Presence, asking him questions, listening for his voice, worshiping Him. I am not talking about doing a daily devotional, though that is good. But really, really seeking his face. See if it doesn't change your world and bring Heaven to Earth.
Some good worship music that we have found this year is
Alberto and Kimberly Rivera --Captured, Live Soaking Sessions & Pnuema are our favorites
Jesus Culture - Obsession, Come Away are our favorites
Bethel Live - Be Lifted High
All of these can be found on itunes as well. Check them out.
So Blessings to you all and we pray that 2011 will be the beginning of the greatest years of your life!
Duane and Melissa Carter and kids

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