July 6, 2015

This and that

Some dear friends sent us one of these:

And I love it! It is a healthier option than pasta AND it is great fun to make those twirly strips. : )

Joy has had reading glasses for many years and just started having trouble seeing little unimportant things like STREET SIGNS from a distance ; )
so, we went to the optometrist the other day and found out she needs glasses for driving.
And this is how cute she looks in them:

All the way home she kept "oohing and ahhing" about how clear the world looks now! She says she's "never going to stop smiling over it!"
 BLESS her!

We are big fans of Hillsong and Bethel's worship music and Nathan and Andrew went to Bethel yesterday for church!!!
-Pretty sure that one experience made Andrew's whole trip!
It sounds like they have had a blast with their cousins this week in northern CA! Thankful for our sweet family for having them visit this week!
I sure can't wait to have those two back home on the 31st!

If you are an Anne of Green Gables fan, you might like LM Montgomery's:

 I had never heard of it til recently and it is such a sweet story!

 I'm going to be very brave and make the bridesmaids' hydrangea bouquets for Zac and Tiff's wedding! It will save a good bit of money and lucky for me YouTube has a how-to video!
 I will be doing lots of practice bouquets and then I'm totally timing how long they last before start to wilt. -This is my kind of science project! ; )


July 4, 2015

Enjoying our life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

Happy Fourth of July!

We are adding this Fourth of July ceremony to our celebration again this year. It takes about 10 minutes and it reminds us of the birth of our country and how unique the United States is.

Two of our boys are celebrating with our Sacramento family today. So glad they are enjoying family! And missing them like crazy!

Yesterday, Hubby had the day off, so we had a breakfast date! 

The portion sizes were CRAZY!

Totally going to make my own cranberry and walnut pancakes at home sometime soon! Yum!

Then Hubby took me to a cute, sleepy little historic town to go antique shopping. (but mostly looking) ; )

Doesn't he look great?!
And speaking of my hubby and of celebrating, on Wednesday, he worked his first FULL day out in the field! He didn't even have to go into the office to work and rest, which is just amazing!
 Not to mention that "it is hot as a box of rocks in a forest fire" in FL right now ; ) 
 and working outside isn't even easy for guys who haven't been through what he has!!! 
He says the heat no longer bothers him, what bothered him was lying in a hospital bed and being unable to work at all! 

God bless him! We have a lot to be thankful for! 

Happy 4th!

July 1, 2015

Wednesdays in the Word

"Now the just shall live by faith. But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in Him." Heb. 10:38
Drawing back reminds me of Romans 12:11, which I occasionally pray for our family. That we not be "lagging in diligence, but fervent in spirit serving the Lord."
Fervent means "living in fervor, fiery hot and full of burning zeal" and "the opposite of dignified, cold and unemotional." Amen!
The NIV says it like this: "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."
Because "you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise." Heb. 10:36
 I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this definition of endurance:
"Bearing up under difficult circumstances not with a passive complacency but with a hopeful fortitude that actively resists weariness and defeat!" Whoo-hoo!
Let's resist the urge to draw back, get weary or be defeated.

I think the key is to draw NEAR instead.
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:8

Have a blessed day!


June 30, 2015

Have a loved one with cancer?

We had so many dear people love and serve us in so many creative ways, during Hubby's battle with cancer. Here are my thoughts on helping someone who is going through the battle of their lives:

Send encouraging texts, messages and cards
My hubby has a pastor friend, who always knew the right moment to send him a meaningful text with a verse of scripture. It was such a God-thing because nine times out of ten, it was always right before a big procedure and this dear man had no idea! We were always in awe of how God orchestrated those texts and how he said what we needed to hear.

~ Don't just recommend a remedy. Go out and purchase that thing that you read cures cancer
I LOVE natural remedies. Hubby tried every single one that was recommended to him so, I know first-hand the time and expense it takes to track them all down. Instead of flooding their inbox with emails about them, go and buy whatever it is for them, if you are able. (but know that the emails are still appreciated!)
This also goes for spiritual books that you think would help build their faith during this time. Don't just give them a title, bring them a copy!

Bring meals 
Their lives are turned upside down by all the appointments and if they've started treatments, those can be daily. Consider choosing a certain day of the week and tell your loved one that you will bring a meal say, every Tuesday at 6 until they cry 'mercy.' ; ) It will be a relief to know that they can count on that meal every week.
And according to my kids, (who had both parents practically living at the cancer hospital) sometimes you can have too many meals and a bag of groceries with milk and cereal is a way bigger blessing. : )

~If you are able, send a financial blessing 
It is the 'big one' so to speak, and the financial repercussions can be as frightening as the disease. Not to mention that vacation time and sick days run out quick and all those co-pays were probably not in their budget. So, financial gifts of any amount, mean a great deal!
We had several dear friends send us cards of encouragement with checks inside and they made us breathe so much easier! We even had a group of total strangers from another state send us a check at Christmastime! We have no idea who they are or how they knew about what we were going through! Still in awe of God's provision!

~ Make your home or hospital visits SHORT
It is AWESOME to have friends and family visit, but it gets really hard when they stay too long. It takes up a lot of energy for patients to socialize for an extended period of time. Fifteen minutes or so is perfect. Be sure to pray for them before you go!

~If you have a gift for humor, use it! 
If you make them laugh, their spouses will love you forever!
My hubby has a friend that he has known since the 3rd grade and I will always be so grateful for the phone calls he made that had my hubby rolling with laughter. It was music to my ears. And I love one of our pastors who made daily hospital visits to us who not only prayed for us but who always told corny jokes. He made us chuckle and forget what we were going through. The Bible says, "A merry heart does good like a medicine." Amen!

~ Help keep their kids' lives normal
 If you can, offer to drive their kids to school, church or youth events etc.. They are going through such an emotional time and being able to stay connected to their friends means so much!
We had a dear friend even offer to take our daughter out for driving practice because she knew that during our crisis, driving lessons were not even on our radar! It meant so much to all of us...even if she did have an expired tag and the police pulled them over. LOL (we got some great laughs out of that)

~ Everyone says "Let me know if there is anything I can do for you." Be that person who really means it!
If they have the courage to be real with you and tell you what it is that they need, by golly, be ready, willing and able and remember YOU are the one who offered.

~Be positive about whatever treatment option they choose
Remember that it is their body and they are ones desperately seeking the Lord for direction. Support them and be positive about the choice they feel led to make.
We got a second and a third opinion before my Hubby made his choice. One opinion was from a doctor who specializes in healing cancer naturally. When he looked at his case, he told him that chemo and radiation were his best chances of survival. He even added, that they were what he would do in his position. -Now, that sure wasn't what we wanted to hear, but it was a confirmation of the direction that the Lord was already leading my Hubby and for that we were thankful.
To have friends tell you how much they oppose the route you chose is just not helpful.

~If you are handy, offer to come over and fix things in disrepair.
Everything goes on the back burner during a crisis and unfortunately, things still break! It is a HUGE blessing to have someone come over to fix them. Our lawn mower could wait but one of our toilets couldn't! ; )

~Pray and fast for their healing
It is totally true that in a crisis like this, you can feel the prayers of the people who are praying for you. My hubby had SOOO many people praying for him. And we literally felt the strength of all those prayers. We experienced an indescribable PEACE from those prayers and such a great amount of grace as a family. Our kids even felt it.
Prayer is truly the BEST thing that you can do for them and let them know that you are standing in faith and believing God with them for their healing.

I'd love to hear any suggestions you may have.
May we love people well, in their time of need!


June 25, 2015

When your son makes your day and homeschooling rocks

This semester I had our teenage son read Little Women, which may sound weird but believe me, it was easier than trying to make another teenage son of ours get through Jane Austin's Emma!
Now, that was agony. LOL

Little Women has some great moral lessons for guys, as well as girls.

I love these passages so much.
They refer to Laurie (the young Mr.Laurence) and the influence the four admiring girls next-door and the love of their mother had for keeping him from temptation when he was away at school and then abroad in Europe.

"A universal favorite, thanks to money, manners, much talent, and the kindest heart that ever got is owner into scrapes by trying to get other people out of them, he stood in great danger of being spoilet, and probably would have been like any other promising boy, if he had not possessed a talisman against evil in the memory of the kind old man who was bound up in his success,
the motherly friend who watched over him as if he were her son, and last, but not least by any means, the knowledge that four innocent girls loved, admired and believed in him with all their hearts."

"Now, if ever, occurred an eligible opportunity for 'going to the devil,' as he once forcibly expressed it, for he had plenty of money and nothing to do, and Satan is proverbially fond of providing employment for full and idle hands. The poor fellow had temptations enough from without and from within, but he withstood them pretty well; for, much as he valued liberty, he valued good faith and
confidence more, so his promise to his grandfather, and his desire to be able to look honestly into the eyes of the women who loved him, and say "All's well," kept him safe and steady." 

Today, our teenage son got on a plane to spend the summer in CA with his brother and his best friend.
As he hugged me goodbye,
he said "I will come back and tell you that all is well, Mom."

And I said, "Great." It was early and he could see that I didn't get it.
Then he said "Like Laurie, Mom! Don't you remember!?!" 
I squealed, hugged him again and kissed his cheek and told him how much
I LOVED that he remembered this! What a sweetheart!

"'Here I am Mother! Yes, it's all right.' The last words were in answer to the look the elder lady gave him; a kindly questioning look , which the handsome eyes met so frankly that the little ceremony closed, as usual, with a motherly kiss."


June 24, 2015

Wednesdays in the Word

The gospel is the good BEST news!

"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out (= obliterated!),
so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord." Acts 3:19
"To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you,
in turning away everyone of you from your iniquities." Acts 3:26
"For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him." 1 Thess. 5:9
"And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgement.
So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.
To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation." Heb. 9:27-28
"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely;
and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus." 1 Thess. 5:23
"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall ALWAYS be with the Lord." 1 Thess. 4:16

AMEN! : )

June 23, 2015

The day after Father's day

We were blessed to celebrate this wonderful man this weekend! It meant an especially great deal to us to after all he's been through this year! 

And since teaching a Sunday school class and going to worship wears Hubby out and since we had some tired boys just returning from youth camp, we had our big celebration last night instead.

Uncle Phil is staying with us and Tiffany (our soon to be daughter) came, and so did Joel, who flew in for camp and considers us his 'second parents.' : ) It was a very nice evening.

The kids wrote Hubby the usual Father's Day letters but this year the overriding theme of them all was their thanks for the courage he exhibited to them through the cancer battle and the way that it impacted their lives!

Yes, and Amen!