Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Extra, extra! Read all about it!"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012.....PUPPIES!!!  We are so proud of our Athena and Leo who have given us 3 cutie pies!!  Intensely concerned for their moral values, Kaiya has already confirmed with Devon that Leo and Athena are married so that she could fully enjoy the happy arrivals....seriously??!! 

The pups are very content as they have more milk than they know what to do with and have me waiting on them hand and foot! There are 3 of them, 2 boys and 1 girl. Inkeeping with traditional naming of litters in the dog fancy world, we will call this the "In the Beginning..." litter!  For inspiration we looked to the Old Testament in the Bible.  Each of the dogs will have an official "family name" which consists of the place where they were born and a formal, rather whimsical, name.  Then they have a casual call name which will be what they are known by in daily life. I have named the boys after the two persons in the Bible who lived forever!  Enoch, who walked so closely in line with God that the Lord simply took him straight to Heaven to be with him!  Then there was the mighty prophet, Elijah, who was caught up by a chariot of fire in a whirlwind and rode it all the way to Glory!  For our little diva, the name Eve was appropriate because eventhough Eve did eventually die, her name means "Life"!
Saltraker's Walk the Line
Here is a body shot of Enoch! He is the largest of the three and already throws his weight around with his brother and sister! He is traditional Black and Tan, just like his Rottie grandparent, with a white stripe down the center of his chest.
Just look at that mug!!
Saltraker's Walk in Paradise
Here is Eve...she is the shortest of the three, though she is not small at all!  It is typical in dogs for the female bone structure to be a bit finer than the male.  But this little lady is one chunky monkey with a mouth to match!  She does not hesitate to let her opinion be known!  She is Chocolate Shaded Sable with Tan Points and no white markings.  Basically that means she will have her father's coat color with her mother's coat pattern.
Pretty Baby Girl!
Saltraker's Walk the Whirlwind
And last but not least is Elijah!  He is just in between length of big bro Enoch and little sis Eve. He already seems like his bone structure will be less stocky than his siblings.  Elijah is a very laid back and loving guy and enjoys nothing more than a belly full of milk and a nap on his back!  He is solid Chocolate, like his dad, with 3 white spots on his chest.
Since Eli looks so much like his bro face on, I decided to give you a profile shot as he has a bit more length in the snout than Enoch.  So, here is his George Clooney shot! Total Hollywood status!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"If you can't run with the big dogs..."

This, my friend, is This is Sparta! of Salt Raker Bay, call name: Leonidas.  He is the gorgeous product of a love affair between a Dogue de Bordeaux and a Chocolate Labrador Retriever!  He is the alpha male and head honcho at SRB and he knows it!  Devon has been in love with DdB's FOREVER...and although I admire them greatly, the drool factor is SUCH a turnoff. Remember Turner and Hooch?  Yeah, I'm not for it!  Besides that, the heat here is not kind to dogs with short snouts.  Too hard for them to breathe freely.  Compromise was needed. 
Mixed breed dogs are easy to come by.  But specifically blended breeds who have complementary body types and temperaments are NOT!!  So, I searched for a year and a half until I came across, what in my opinion, is an ideal match!  Intelligent, brave, loyal and not to mention gentle as a lamb with his family, Leo is an absolute joy!  Just don't come to SRB without permission!!  He is strong as an ox...just ask the steel porch rail that we had to re-weld after he pulled it out of the cement!!  Leo is a diplomatic dog who would rather give a few warning barks than get into a confrontation.  We love Leo and he returns the love with a Lab type enthusiasm that is endearing.  We hope to enjoy him for many years to come!

No, this is not a horse!  If anyone paid attention to The Godfather trilogy, you would notice that every mob family has the mastermind and the muscle.  Caesar is definitely the hit man of the crew!  His official title is Et Tu, Brute? at Salt Raker Bay.  When you come to the yard, you will hear Leo first, but you will see Caesar!  He is a Cane Corso and as suave as Leo may be, Caesar is that rough around the edges!  He seems to suffer from multiple personality disorder as with strangers he thinks he is top of the food chain and with us he thinks he is a lapdog!  As irritating as he can be as he tries to give you a slobbery kiss as you leave for church in your Sunday best, you cannot help but LOVE this boy!  He has an expression in his eyes that is almost human if he is saying he'll die for you! 
Walking Caesar is an art form all to itself.  He prefers to go through back trails and bramble where he can practice his tracking skills on unsuspecting ducks and such!  Needless to say, Devon handles those reins and I tag along for those walks as he stalks his unsuspecting prey in the bush of Long Bay!

A picture in motion is the best for the third member of the pack: A Word to the Wise at Salt Raker Bay.  Athena is the only girl from a litter of Rottweiler/Red Nosed Pit Bull combination.  She was left behind as all her brothers went to loving homes.  When she arrived, we socialized her immediately with the children and it became obvious that this girl was a lover.  True to the Rottie reputation, she loves to be loved and will be heartbroken at any scolding that she may receive.  Little did we know she was also an athlete!!  As Athena grew, so did her amazing speed and agility!  We first noticed this when, not to be outdone by her larger pack members, she bounded from 5 ft inside the yard to the stone wall and proceeded to trot the perimeter like a gymnast on a balance beam!  The boys just sat there like, "Whoa!...THAT JUST HAPPENED!"  The terrier in her is amazing as she will pursue any deadly mouse, lizard or cricket down the hole through which it may try to escape. "Foolish Mortals!" Take her to the beach and watch her fly!! She is my favorite dog to walk as she literally needed no training to learn to stay by your side. Pure instinct and intellect.  Proportionately she is lovely.  A nice balance between the squared, blocky Rottie and the lean, muscular Pit.  Watching her move is poetry in motion!  Sigh....We Love Dogs!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Keepin' it Real!"

Alrighty!  For those who may have a hard time reading the scrawl on this little piece of paper, I will help you out.  It says, "I Love My Mommy.  My Daddy Loves Dogs."  This scathing observation was recorded by our resident poet, Doodle, when she was 4 years old.  We laughed about it for days, but in my infinite wisdom I tore the prose from the notebook in which she had scribbled it and saved it on the refridgerator.  I know you're thinking, "What a sentimental mom!"  Please don't get confused!  As the laughter rang through the house, I knew that this seemingly benign piece of whimsy would someday serve as evidence.  Evidence to dispel the apparently popular conception that we in the Cox house are simply CRAZY for each other!  Well, I mean.....we ARE crazy for each other....but, even a CHILD can see that there is one love that trumps all.....dogs.  Devon....loves....dogs.  This is something that goes unquestioned at SRB.  Now the actual relevance of this tidbit of information will reveal itself in due course.  But I needed to set this up properly so you know from whence the rest will come!

Now, let me be fair.  I love dogs too!  I mean it's serious.  For Valentine's Day this year I was still recouperating from the flu.  Devon asked me what I wanted and the only thing I could come up with was some Italian food and us sitting in front of the television watching The Westminster Kennel Club Show!  Seriously!  That's all I wanted!!  There are many breeds that we admire for many different reasons.  But a good looking dog is gonna get our attention no matter the type!  So, what is so PROFOUND about Kaiya's first attempt at haiku is NOT that Devon loves dogs.  It's that in her humble opinion, Daddy loves dogs the way that SHE loves ME!  The love connection between her dad and myself doesn't seem to register at all! 


Kids are painfully honest and I think Devon was amazed that his love for canines was so OBVIOUS!!!  What can I say?  The Kids definitely keep it real!  More to come, y'all.....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nicole: "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman!"

So, here is my dissertation on myself!  I really don't find myself NEARLY as amazing as my family!  But for the sake of good form, I will play the matriarch and give you the low down!

That's me!  Sporting my most popular "Oh, really?" glance to the hubby!  I was born in Atlanta, GA even though my parents both hail from South Caicos (yes, just like Devon!)  We only lived there until I was four years old, but somehow I think the grits and cornbread sunk all the way to my bones!!  I still crave peach cobbler!  I truly am a Southerner at heart and think that the simpler life is, the better.  Being the daughter of a Baptist minister, I had my fair share of travel early on.  We moved to Harvey, Illinois (right outside of Chicago) and lived there until I was 10.  We then moved back south of the Mason Dixon line and settled in Sebring, Florida.  With all that bouncing, you see why I sigh when people ask where I am from! I moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 1995 to attend the University of North Florida and stayed there until I married Devon and moved to Turks and Caicos in 2005.  So, truthfully, Jacksonville is more my home than anywhere else.  So much so that I chose to birth all 3 of our kids there! 

My love is Classical Music, which was my field of study in school under the Vocal Performance track.  I was super blessed while in college to experience 2 separate trips to Europe not just to be a tourist, but to perform as a member of two separate choral ensembles.  It was an excellent taste of what it would be to live out my vocation exactly where I wanted to be!!  A lifetime learning Bellini, Mozart, Verdi and Puccini librettos was all I thought I wanted!  Hours of Schubert and Faure were fine with me!!  Teaching voice lessons would be how I would afford my extravagant meals of Ramen Noodles until The Met called!!  However, God had better plans for me as now I am blissfully married with 3 AMAZING rugrats and serve as Worship Director for our church, Harvest Bible Chapel, TCI.  I still teach a few voice students, but it is for enjoyment and every now and then I solo for events or church.  Generally, God has replaced music as the center of my life with people being the center.  A pretty functional way to live!! It is amazing what can happe when we allow God to balance our lives.  It releases us into our ultimate fufillment.  It is nice to know that He can use you to touch others and do His good works....and Mozart and I still see each other on weekends...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Adaiya: "The Entertainer"

This picture was taken of Addie when she was 15 months old...and to this day it is the most accurate visual of this kid's personality!  "Bundles" has been her household call name from the time she came home from the hospital and believe me, buddy, SHE IS A BUNDLES!  Bundles of attitude, bundles of joy, bundles of drama, bundles of name it and she brings it!! Two snaps up, girlfriend!! Adaiya was born on April 30, 2009.  For as much commotion as this little girl causes in the house I wish I could tell you that her name had a complex Biblical tale to go with it.  But, no.  Her name is briefly mentioned in II Kings 22:1 as the grandmother of none other than King Josiah!  It was the meaning of her name that entranced us; "Adorned by (ornament of) God".  In our minds, Queen Adaiah must have been a wonderful grandmother because her grandson ruled with Godly wisdom for years.  That sounds like some good home training to us!  And the iron fist this kid wields would be just the ticket!  We pray that as she grows she truly becomes decorated from head to toe in the Grace of God.  The beauty of a life in Christ is the greatest beauty she can attain.

As the Lord would have it, Addie is very precocious. This works very well for us because one of  Josiah's challenges is his lack of drive for social interaction.  Bundles is the perfect antagonist to keep up with Kaiya and work Jojo's nerves to PIECES until he responds to her barage of questions and comments!  Without a doubt, Addie is the Lord's choice to round out our trio of trouble.  We love them all and pray always that we honor the Lord with the treasure with which He has entrusted us.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Josiah: "The Philosopher"

I think every mother does the same thing when they find out they're expecting...out comes the journal and we begin furiously scribbling all the hopes and dreams we have for the little life growing inside us!  Well, with Josiah, I was rather stumped!  I had prayed for a son and finding out that Jo was a boy seemed like blessing enough!  So, the best I could come up with was a prayer that he be the perfect fit for our family.  I prayed that he would be the ideal son that we needed in our lives.  Well, I have to say that God answers prayer in a BIG way, because as quirky as Jojo may be, we cannot imagine life at Salt Raker without him! Josiah has autism and you can read more about our adventures on the spectrum at . Jo's autism doesn't define him, but it sure makes our lives a wild ride at times!  If anything, the autism has forced us to dig deeper into him to uncover the amazing jewel that he is.  And what we uncover is always profound!

May 23, 2007 was the day God blessed us with Jojo's safe arrival! We first chose the name Josiah in admiration of the king of Judah who was crowned at the age of 8.  His story is found in II Kings 22 & 23.  He was the youngest king ever crowned for the children of Israel and was responsible for returning his people to true worship of Jehovah through finding their lost Book of the Law, abolishing pagan worship in the kingdom, rebuilding the temple, returning the Ark of the Covenant and reinstating the celebration of Passover. The Lord used his reign to bring truth and order to His people.  Ironically, our Josiah's challenges have done the same for our family as we are daily called to be honest about how autism affects ALL our lives and structure our lives to be as supportive to Jo as possible.  Josiah's name has several translations, but they all are amazingly appropriate in light of God's promises for Jo's life and our own lives.  "Jehovah heals", "Jehovah supports", "Jehovah saves", "Fire (purifier) of the Lord"....all of these meanings remind us that through our journey with Jojo, the Lord reigns and will guide.  So, when he sits quietly on his favorite swing in the yard, looking up at the clouds, I don't always interrupt him right away.  Sometimes I think that the inner workings of that mind are connecting with The Wisdom far beyond our own.  And what is revealed to him may be one more step in unifying all of us.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Michaiya: "The Artist"

Our eldest daughter is Michaiya, which in meaning asks the rhetorical question, "Who is like God?" We chose Kaiya's name from an obscure prophet found in I Kings 22 who apparently was none too popular with the rulers of the day because he always told the truth and it was NEVER in favor of the powers that be!  Well, in this account the prophet Micaiah snubs his nose at 400 false prophets and evil king Ahab by letting Ahab know that he will not survive the upcoming battle.  We were inspired by the bravery to testify to God's Truth in the face of literally hundreds of opponents and certain death.  For our Michaiya, we pray the Spirit grant her boldness to always do what is right in spite of all who say otherwise.

Kaiya was born September 22, 2005 and has been our snuggle bunny ever since. NOBODY can cuddle like this kid! Just ask her Grammy, who has lost many a night of sleep due to Kaiya's "Body Wrap" technique.  At 2 weeks old we started calling her "Doodle" and the nickname stuck...little did we know that doodling is EXACTLY what this kid would love to do.  Michaiya is our Artist in Residence.  Drawing, painting, crafting, name it and she loves it!  Absolutely obsessed with musical instruments or writing 6 year old prose, our little dream weaver always has one foot on a rainbow and her head in the clouds...and we love her for it! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Devon: "It's a man's world!"

Trust solemn as the introduction of our blog may seem, this motley crew is far from serious!!  Our life is just a little bit crazy and we tend to take it ALL with a grain of genuine Salt Raker salt!  I see you've let the stoic setting of our posting fool you.  Fine...I'm gonna help you out on this one: Let's take a look at the noble patriarch of our clan and see where we go from there...
Mmm-hmmm....That's the joker right there!  This is the root of our somewhat nutty family tree and despite ANYTHING he tells you, he is to blame for the insanity we call life!  I hope you are smiling just looking at this picture! The Cox family name in Turks and Caicos came mostly, as far as I know, from Blue Hills (now known as Providenciales).  However, Devon Kyle Cox was born and raised on the great island of South Caicos (still affectionately called "East Harbour" or "Big South" by natives).  Harbour is a community that was powered in its hay day by fishermen, salt rakers and men of general commerce.  With amazing focus, that same community has produced the majority of educators, politicians and corporate professionals in Turks and Caicos today.  Most people who hail from South Caicos are fiercely loyal to their country and deeply committed to serving it.  Devon is no exception as he chose to become the nation's first native Electrical Engineer and to use that degree by serving as the Director of Transmission and Distribution for Fortis,TCI, the premier power company in Turks and Caicos.  All that and he STILL manages to make this cap look good!

Now, Devon has quite a few hobbies and we will get to all of them...what is the point of a blog if you can't get knee deep into people's business, right?  But one must follow good form, so I hope this brief intro sets the stage for the life and times of the Coxies!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Salt Raker Bay: Labours and Legacies of Love

Welcome to Salt Raker Bay.  Here on Providenciales many of the residents have taken to the old custom of naming their homes and property.  It is a romantic homage to colonial charm and Caribbean escapism.  For our small corner of this island, we chose to pay a sentimental tribute to one of the heroes upon whose shoulders the Turks and Caicos rose to prominence: The Salt Raker.  Braving the scorching heat and a humbling profession, the salt rakers from the late 1600's until the 1960's labored tirelessly to compile the countless mountains of glistening, "White Gold" that was coveted around the world.  With this as our legacy, our family strives to serve God and Man in every way we can to honor His name and share our zest for life with all whom we meet.  These are our stories as we live, laugh and love; raking salt along the way.