"Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise." ~Andy Stanley

July 30, 2008

Wednesdays in the Word

Psalm 82 is special to me. It reminds me of a mission we all have and I've been reading it a lot lately. I used it for a devotional with the kiddos this morning.
Here are the highlights:

"Defend the poor and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Deliver the poor and needy;
Free them from the hand of the wicked. They do not know, nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness..."

Isn't that so true.
So many people walk about in darkness and need to be freed from the 'hand of the wicked one.'
I think the second part of verse 6 is the key to people being free:
"And all of you are children of the Most High."
I have a note I've written to myself in my Bible that says "Tell people who their Dad is!"
They may be "fatherless" on earth but they can have the Most High as their Dad!
Knowing that you are really royalty because the King of Kings is your Father, totally changes your life. You don't "walk about in darkness" any longer.
The thing is "They do not know, nor do they understand..." And so they have to be told.


July 28, 2008

Something Exciting

Back in June, Nathan's piano teacher told a pastor in our neighborhood about Teen Bible Quiz and how many verses Nathan had memorized. He was invited to come to this church and quote a chapter and give a little talk on why he memorizes scriptures.
They also had him accompany Joy on the piano while she sang with their youth choir during the offering.

It was kind of a scary experience for the two of them because they didn't know what to expect. They also didn't get to practice with the choir until right before the service started. It was a liturgical service and so that was something new to us too. It turned out to be a really neat and stretching experience for them and my hubby and I were so proud! This small, struggling church seemed so encouraged to hear Nathan quote and he received tons of encouragement in return.

Now, to our surprise, they have asked Nathan to come back and quote again on Thursday for a 'back to school night' they are having for their teens. His piano teacher told the pastor about our 'family band' and they've asked my hubby and kids to come and play their praise and worship set for the event.
~Wow! Pretty amazing!
Being that we/they are still beginners, (they have only played one song in public before)
and haven't had any experience in leading other people into the presence of God in worship.
Will you pray for them this week and for those present to be blessed and touched by the Lord?

Here's something else that is really neat that the Lord reminded me of this week.
It was ten years ago, when we were leading a youth group, that we first prayed to have 'a family worship band!'
We had taken the teens and our own kiddos (who were 5, 3, and 1 years old at the time) to another church that was having a 'back to school night.' (~isn't that amazing?) The people leading worship that night were a family! My hubby and I were so impressed by that, that we both prayed for a 'family worship band' of our own. I believe He's been answering that prayer ever since. : )

July 26, 2008


Now, you'd never know it from this conversation but for three years it seemed like the Home Depot was like our second home! ~Our kiddos even know where things are in there! : )

My hubby and I were talking about a small hardware store in our neighborhood that burned down and we heard:

"What is a hardware store?"

"You know, where we used to go to buy our vitamins!" LOL


July 22, 2008

Fishy tales

If you read this,
then you will know why every Father's day includes at least a few...

I think I am the only person who's been cheap enough to ask when the pet store is having their next fish sale. Seriously, they acted like no one had ever asked that before!

I've met all kinds of salespeople in the fish department. One memorable one let me have it, so to speak. I don't remember what I said but it must have sounded like I took the life of a little fish for granted or was an inept owner of $2.00 fish, because he gave me the 'what for' with his passion for fish.

This latest salesman in the fish department seemed to be the exact opposite of that guy.

Joy and I were both about shuddering for the life of our future fish as this young man:
~jammed his net in the tank,
~trapped some fish on the bottom of it,
~pulled the net up,
~grabbed them each BY HAND and put them in a bag none too gently.

We were pretty sure they were on their way to meet their Maker after that and I brought up the return policy! LOL
In fact the salesman was thinking the same thing, I could tell. And he assured me that I could always return them.

Well.... I know now a thing or two about how that returning of the dead fish program works and I've never been able to pull it off just right.

One time I brought the receipt in, but had no dead body to prove it and they didn't believe me. Another time, I brought in a dead fish and no receipt to which they they implied that I couldn't prove I bought it from them. So, this time I was totally determined to do it right and have a dead fish and a receipt, if these suckers bit the dust. : ) (hey, one was a sucker fish, so that could actually be considered a pun! -or not. I am the only one who laughs at my jokes at my house, I assure you.)

I didn't actually have long to wait for that to happen. One went belly up while I was standing right there!
And THAT is when this sweet young man whispered to Joy and I that he was "new here."

Right then his fish catching skills totally started to make sense! : )
Joy and I realized we were probably making this guy nervous so we stayed away as he tried to catch us a replacement.

While standing at the register to pay, I started examining my fish and I was sure another one was dying and Joy assured me that we just needed to leave the store anyway.
She's so smart.
She realized long before I did that if he kept catching us fish they weren't going to stay alive long anyway and we'd be caught in an endless cycle of live/dead fish... and that would probably seem like something close to a nightmare for a little girl who was sure we'd been at the pet store FOREVER already.

So I left with one that was a goner by the time I got home.

When we arrived, he went right into a Ziploc bag with the receipt stapled to it! Woo-hoo.
-Now, I wasn't going to spend $4.00 in gas to take back a $2.00 fish, but I thought I was sure to be in that neighborhood again in the next week or two for my 14 day guarantee!

Then a week later our new sucker fish died and I remembered my little dead carcass that I still needed to take back. I realized that it was day 13, so I got out my net to scoop up his dead body and the worst thing happened! It decomposed when I touched it with the net!
But here I was, determined to have the receipt and the dead fish this time so, I set out to try and catch the flakes of his remains with the net. LOL Which didn't really go so well.

'The new guy' was on duty at the pet store so I tried to avoid him so I could make it home with some LIVE fish. What a concept!
This other salesman must have been related to the one I mentioned at the beginning of this post ; )
because he "oohed" and "ahh-ed" over my bags of dead fish as if we were discussing newborn babies! And before he could say "Excuse me Ma'am but this Ziploc bag is empty" I told him that it actually wasn't empty and that it held the flaky decomposed remains of my sucker fish. To which he "ahhh'ed" some more.
He actually believed me so I guess I don't look like someone who would lie about dead fish.
And I left with about $8.00 in new fish that were actually still alive when I got home.
I told the kids they better keep living or these salesmen are going to think that
"something fishy is going on with this lady." ~To which they groaned!

Since then, we've had some more die... But I give up! : )
As long as there is at least a few things swimming in that 30 gallons, I'm good.

July 21, 2008

We just can't stay away!

I thought I would take this year off of VBS so that I could work on planning our school year and ordering our books.

My younger kiddos were disappointed but they didn't complain. (they are wonderful like that!)
I know I could take them and not help but I know I wouldn't enjoy that.
I love helping in registration:
-with the crazy long lines of people
-all the paper work to figure out
-and the cute little kids registering their 'guests.'

It's so much fun. I always get to know someone new and have a blast.

But, we live almost 30 min away, so a week of VBS means:

-making dinner at 3:30 pm (how weird is that)
-leaving our house at 4:30 pm
-getting home around 9:15 or 9:30 every night
-and not seeing my wonderful hubby much, if at all

But, here's what happened:
My teen, who in times past has needed some motherly persuasion
to be a VBS volunteer, ; )
totally wanted to do it this year and was really disappointed about not going....

And well, who am I, to tell a teen who wants to serve and fellowship, 'no.'
~ He's so good with the kids too.

In fact, the more I hear about how he took care of Joy and Andrew while I was away, the more I know he's growing into an awesome man.

~And so we are going and my hubby is proud of us and it will be a crazy but fun week. Not as crazy as the week that the two of us had our own group of preschoolers though. We shudder to think of that year. (he decided that no one can take him alive to do that again) LOL

I know the time to plan my school year will come...
God has the plan already, I just have to seek Him for it. : )


July 18, 2008

A neat thing happened in the airport..but my librarian might not think so

I'm going to the library today and I have a confession to make and a book to pay for.
But not because I lost it....
Actually, I gave it to someone because God worked out this wild divine appointment
in the airport in Green Bay last week.
It all happened because a sweet elderly lady, tries to talk to at least one person about Jesus, every time she travels. And I was so blessed to be present.

As were were waiting by the gate she walked by and chatted with a young man near me who was about 18 or 19 yrs. old who had on a Brett F*rve jersey and had a cheese head hat in his lap. She noticed the book I was reading and that led to a conversation about what church she goes to and what church I go to and what church this young man goes to.
And before I knew it, this gracious woman invited this young man to come and sit between the two of us so that we could share with him about how to be saved.
To my surprise, he gladly got up and sat with us and listened to her share about how we are all sinners and that our good works can't save us and that we need Jesus.
And I'll never forget this: he turned to me and asked to hear my story. How amazing is that!?
Sometimes it seems like people don't want to "hear the hope that's within us" but some actually do! Wow!!!
Before we parted I felt led to give him what I was reading:
Even though it happened to belong to the library....
It seemed absolutely perfect for someone who wanted to know more about Jesus.
Guess what?
This book was soon on its way to Minnesota and then to Germany which is where this young man lives!
I'm not very good at remembering names, but the Lord made it really easy for me to remember his so that I can be praying for him by name. You see it actually rhymes with the word 'cheese' which seemed all too appropriate there in Wisconsin. LOL
I ran into this sweet woman later in the terminal and she said:
"Let's you and I always try to carry a book that we can give away to someone while we are traveling."
~Isn't that a great idea? But next I'll make sure it isn't library book. : )
So, today, I have the immense honor and pleasure of paying for this book and continuing to pray for this dear young man. PTL!

July 16, 2008

Wednesdays in the Word

The other day when I was reading in Psalm 37
I was so blessed....

by a capital letter 'H'!

Verse 23 says: "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way."

I've tended to think of it as the man delights in the way that he's going because he knows that his steps were ordered by the Lord.

But this time when I read it the 'H' was blaring out at me, which of course, changes it entirely.

~How awesome is it to think that the Lord not only orders our steps and then He delights in us as we walk them out.
Amen! : )


July 13, 2008

Congrats to Joy our Honor Star!

Here she is before the ceremony!
I had so much fun doing her hair!
Here she is with her sweet Daddy!
It was a beautiful evening.

I was just sure I would be a teary mess up on the stage, because I get all choked up when girls I don't even know get crowned... ; )
But, I made it!
Here we are.
(minus Nathan who was delayed in Chicago)

(thank you Jamie for taking pictures for us!)

A sweet family paid for all the girls to have a ride in this:
And they were so excited! They went somewhere "really fancy."

~To Mc D*nalds for sundaes! : )

Now, if you have a daughter who becomes an Honor Star and someone hands you the piece of cake with her picture on it and she is off in a limo having a sundae, DON'T eat it!
It may cause her to be scarred for life and your family will tease you forever. Plus, it's really a weird feeling eating your daughter's face. -Trust me on this one! ; )

~Becky , who is hoping to live this down someday!

July 12, 2008

We are together again!

We are all back together again! Woo-hoo!
To celebrate, Joy and I just made a blackberry pie! We also just finished watching his podcasts of the week. They were pretty cute.

We picked up him up at the airport last night after the Honor Star ceremony. They had a long delay in Chicago.
I just can't say enough good about the Teen Bible Quiz ministry! We saw a whole different side of it this week being at nationals.
It turned out to be totally worth all those fund raisers!!! LOL ; )
~It was an awesome experience!!!

The other teams' coaches and quizzers were so sweet. They encouraged our kids after matches and asked them how old they are and would tell them what a good job they did etc... One opposing team member gave Nathan tips on how to answer scripture text questions, it was really nice. On more than one occasion we heard people say that they thought that "in three years" we will have a championship team. ~Wow!
One coach of 20+ years told us that he'd "never seen a team this young come to nationals and do this well before!" Praise the Lord!

We have an awesome coach, by the way. He is a blessing and now we all understand his absolute passion for Bible Quiz!
We all had a wonderful week together.

If we make it next year, it will be in Missouri. ~'Hurray' for somewhere a little closer to us! Now, its time to start memorizing the book of Mark!

I want to give a big thank you to my kiddos who kept our household running beautifully while I was gone and Dad was at work.

~Thank you to Joy who did all the laundry...no small feat! ~To Zach who did the cooking and dishes. (and it wasn't mac and cheese and p/b&j either. He ambitiously chose some difficult meals and I hear that ate really well while I was away!) ~Thanks to Andrew who covered Nathan's daily chores as well as his own.

A HUGE thanks to Zachary for being one very responsible guy and taking great care of his brother and sister during the day. I was very grateful for the sweet emails he sent me while I was away that let me know that all was well on the home front. : )


July 9, 2008

I'm home and we have a winner!

So, life in a 5 star hotel full of Christians is fun...
And so is not doing any laundry or cooking...

But there's no place like home!

I'm so glad to be back with the rest of my family!

A dear friend brought us over dinner last night and it was such a blessing for me after being stuck in our nation's capital for more than 3 hours. : )

Nathan is still in WI.
~He called last night while we were having dinner to say that they WON their last two matches! How exciting!!!
That makes 7 for the week. (more than double what they hoped for. PTL!)

I came home early because tomorrow Joy is being crowned as an Honor Star at church.
Woo-hoo!!! This has been her goal since she was in kindergarten and I'm so proud of her. It was a lot of work.
~And unless Nathan and his team spend some extra time in an airport or two, he'll be back in time to meet us at the ceremony. : )

I have lots more to share about the trip but for now we have a WINNER.....

I had Joy pick a name out of the bowl (aren't we techie?!)
and it was....

And since Joy actually knows her, she felt guilty and she wants the bloggy world to know that she didn't pick her on purpose. How cute it that?!

Congrats Jamie! I imagine you may want to share it with your Honey who really wanted to win and whose comments crack us up! LOL


Hi from WI!!!

The team is doing really well!
Our coach's goal was that we have 3 wins this week and we have 4 so far. Hurray!
Nathan has had two exciting matches where he got positive quiz outs and the extra points for that caused their team to win those VERY close matches. He was so excited!

Our days here are very full. There's breakfast, a devotional and then its off to quiz four rounds until lunch. Then we eat and head off to quiz five more rounds. By then, its about time for dinner. They have some chill out time right after dinner and then the coach has them practice quoting all of the material (which takes about an hour) and then its time for bed at 10:00.

The team is bonding and making some fun memories. The boys made Ephesians into a rap the other night. Nathan taught all the kids to play poker with m&m's yesterday. And someone who I know wishes to remain nameless, taught us all to play '21' for candy bars last night. LOL!

I better run. There's a line for the computers!

July 7, 2008

I found a computer!!!

Yesterday, I discovered the 'business center' of the hotel. Yahoo! Free computer use! But I won't be able to post any pictures until I get home.
What made my day, besides finding the computers was when the lady I asked about them glanced at me and said "You have to be 18 or over to use them." I said that I'm pretty sure I qualify and laughed. I didn't realize she was serious!!!! Then she looked at me and she apologized. LOL! I said "Don't apologize, I'll take that as a compliment." Too funny!

So, hello from Green Bay. Or as the sign at the airport said "Welcome to the land of the Packers!" I think they are serious about their football here. ; )

All is going well here. The kids have had a blast. But today, starts the QUIZZING!
So there won't be much more time for playing in the glass elevator and swimming...
Its too funny to see how much fun they have riding this elevator! Nathan and his buddy ran around on all 8 floors of the hotel the first night, meeting people and finding out what state they were from and playing elevator 'tag.'
Last night we heard 10 or 11 kids preach 5 minute sermons from the books they memorized this year. They were awesome! I heard an adult say that the next generation is in good hands! Amen! Nathan and his buddy will have to do sermons the next time they make it to nationals. They would be great at it. We missed the dramatized quoting which I'm sure was awesome. The kids needed a break and so we all played a card game.

The hotel is filled with 200 or so teens who know LARGE portions of the N.T. by heart. Its a neat environment. The high level teams are practicing 6 and 7 hours a day!!! There are college scholarships available to win this week. We heard a senior give our Sunday morning sermon and he'd been in Bible Quiz so long that he knows 10 or 11 books by heart! How amazing is that?!
I better run.
Things get mighty serious today as the matches begin soon....
Blessings from WI!

And if you want to enter a give away, see the post below!!! : )

July 3, 2008

I'm going away and having a give-away!

Happy fourth of July!!!

~Lots and lots of fundraisers later...

it's that time and Nathan and I are off to Wisconsin for the Teen Bible Quiz nationals!

It has been a bit overwhelming but I'm starting to get excited about the trip. It will be a fun adventure and I know that Nathan will remember this forever!Thank you to all our sweet friends and family for your words of encouragement and your financial support to see his team go.

While I am in Green Bay having blogging withdrawals, and wishing I had a lap top...

I thought I would host a give-away! : )

It will be for a $10.00 gift card here:

Woo hoo!!! So, if you'd like to be entered in this drawing just leave a comment! I'll get one of our cute kiddos to be the "random number generator" (How techie is that?! LOL) We will choose a winner next Friday.

And if you think of it, would you pray that their team does well and that they don't get discouraged? They will be the (inexperienced) underdogs in all 19 of these matches since this is their first year. Thinking about this makes me want to quote all my favorite lines from Facing the Giants, but I better go pack instead.
Thanks so much!

~Guess what? It is in the 50's at night in Green Bay!!! How glorious is that for us Floridians who are melting!? Bring on the cold! ; )


July 2, 2008

Wednesdays in the Word

Yesterday the kiddos and I studied Ephesians 5:20-21. I think I need to make these verses my motto!
"...giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,"
Giving thanks for ALL things. Giving thanks for the blessings is easy but the trials aren't so easy. How about giving thanks even BEFORE we see
Rom. 8:28 happen. - "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Gotta work on that...
And verse 21, which I like how the NIV words it:
"submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." Now that one is really speaking to me right now.
The kids and I discussed how submitting to others is a way to honor the Lord. And honoring the Lord is something we should be desperate to do.
So, we submit and not necessarily because:
~someone is right
~someone is nice about it
~someone knows what they are doing
~we feel like it or because it makes sense
But because in so doing, we honor Jesus.