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

June 29, 2011

The retreat returns

Due to the economy and the fact that very few many millionaires have been building their dream houses in Florida lately, my hubby's job has been rather insecure.
But God changed all that at the end of 2010, hallelujah, and now we know that he will have work for at least another year!
The economy isn't really any better and there are lots of custom home builders who have gone out of business, but I know that God is providing for this company because of its generous, godly owner. I can't say enough good about him.
He's devoted to helping the poor and that is why I think, God is keeping this company going in spite of the economy. Amen!!!

Here are just a few examples:

He housed a family who lost their home in New Orleans due to Katrina for a least a year. He PAYS my hubby and another man to walk around the job site and ask the other trades if they need prayer for anything and then they go and spend at least a half hour praying over peoples needs on company time. He gives his employees the book of John to hand out to those they meet during their day. He funds the painting and restoring homes for a ministry that helps men getting out of jail get back into society and does amazing things for a local orphanage. You won't come to a company Christmas party and not find some random needy person there that just met him that day, that he invited to come.
Another thing he does is hold a retreat for all his employees and their families at a cute resort in Steinhatchee, Florida (located in the middle of no where) to spend the weekend in adorable cottages with huge porches on the river.

The weekend consists of a meeting for employees while the families ride bikes, swim, kayak, do archery, canoe or just relax. Then there is always a spiritual seminar for everyone to attend and be blessed. There is a banquet with awards for employees based upon godly character traits. (of which my hubby always wins some) : ) There is also time for lots of free play as a family and we don't have to cook because all the meals are provided!!!

This is the first time in three years, the company has been able to have a retreat and we were pretty excited. We had a wonderful time! Pictures to come!


June 27, 2011

The weekend away

Here are some random pictures from our weekend get-away.

We took these and headed out for some fun in the sun.

Here is the walkway to paradise!

Otherwise known as our
favorite beach!

We played in this

with these

then we headed here

It was historic

and full of antiques

and if you ever needed to wash your hands while in the hallway for some reason, you could!

Our room was really SMALL. I called it small and my hubby called it European, which sounds better.

We headed here by trolley at night for a gorgeous view of the city and some ice cream

which ended up in my hair due to the winds from a brewing storm while we were on the top floor!

We enjoyed the trolley drive around the city and headed back to the hotel and sat here in the moonlight.

The next day, we went to an outdoor market and then to the beach again. We stopped and had more ice cream which did not end up in my hair in my hair this time.

After that we headed back home to the kiddos who thought they might die since mom's taxi service hadn't been in operation for a whole 28 hrs or so.
lol! : )

Hope we don't wait another 3 years to do this again! It was so much fun having my sweet hubby all to myself!


June 17, 2011

Two of the best dads

My hubby says that one of the things that struck him about me while we were dating was seeing me sitting on my dad's lap while he was over at our house chatting with our family.

He says that it made him stop and wonder what kind of a wife a daddy's girl would make. He wasn't sure but he thought that a girl who loved and honored her dad seemed like someone who would love and honor her husband.

Guess what?

He says it did work out that way. : ) Hooray!

-Now he's got his own daddy's girl and three boys who are crazy about him!

(Happy Father's Day, Honey!)

Let me tell you, I have one sweet Dad that I've always been crazy about!

Happy Father's Day, Dad! I love you! : )


(sorry for the big empty space, this is a scanned picture and it isn't cooperating with the blog but it is one of my favorites so I'm posting it anyway!)

June 12, 2011

The get away

During the winter, I bought a one night stay at a historic hotel near the beach (which came with a free bottle of wine and a free breakfast) for $59.00. Yay! I bought it on Groupon. (I've actually bought a few things on there in the past year)
Check them out here: Groupon.
We decided to save it to use in March, but they were all booked up.
Then my brother in law came for two months and so we had to put it off until June.
Then my hubby's company decided to have a retreat this year (Fun!) and take all the families of the employees along for a paid weekend get away (yes, they are amazing like that)...but it was on the same weekend we planned to go. So, I changed the reservation.
Then, the company changed their retreat date and I changed the reservation back again.
-Kind of confusing but it actually does have some significance. While my hubby and I were off on our weekend, riding a "trolley" by the beach, it hit us that it was the anniversary of the night he asked me to marry him 20 years ago!!!!!
What a sweet surprise that was!

So, we've decided to celebrate two anniversaries every year from now on!!! Engagement and wedding! Whoo-hoo!

Pictures to come!

June 7, 2011

First adventure in care giving comes to an end

Nathan flew my hubby's brother (a stroke patient) back to CA for us on Saturday. All went well and I am so proud of our 16 year old.
That was not an easy assignment because of the pressure of changing planes, pushing a wheel chair and dealing with a very nervous adult, who needed caring for. I told him that he was my hero! He also reminded me that he would be dependent upon on prayers (which he had in a big way) and that made me even more proud. He really handled it like a champ, with all the love, compassion and courage any mom and dad could hope for.
God is making Nathan into an awesome man!!!
I hear that when they landed, his other uncle took them to an infamous diner and Nathan ordered the biggest thing on the menu, bless his heart. (they'd been up since 2:30 AM and hadn't had much to eat all day)

So...care giving -WOW!!!
I think "Wow" sums it up pretty well. : )
It is really something!

My hubby and I had a chance to share with each other the scriptures we'd each been clinging to during this time and they all had to do with death. lol!
Death to ourselves and our flesh.
I've decided care giving is an accelerated course in dying to one's self.
Even if you think you've done that,
in let's say: 25 years of walking with the Lord, or in having your first born baby, or in raising 4 toddlers or dealing with 4 teens on a daily basis, (lol) because I personally think those things make for good practice, BUT, I found out otherwise. ; )

For me, it was like going to all new levels of dying to self that I never would have ventured into otherwise. Care giving rocked my world and the only peace I had was when I sought the Lord to help me to die to me. OUCH and double OUCH on constant basis.
Not too fun, but God shows up when you are living on an alter. The holy isn't always happy but the joy is deep. Amen?

I wonder how anyone who doesn't have the Lord in their life to strengthen them even handle it??? -I have no idea!

I don't know when my brother-in-law will be sent back out here for us to care for him again, but it sounds like the next time will be for 6 months instead of just 2.
But this I do know. We will all be the better for it, and my prayer is that we will handle it in such a way, that gives God glory.


June 3, 2011

The Florida to-do-list

My brother-in-law had a list of things he wanted to do while he was here for two months....

and today we checked the last one of the list!

Today's adventure took us to Lettuce Lake in search of alligators!

I never even pictured him climbing the observation tower

but he decided to do it!!! : )
42 steps! It was awesome! (the guy who was afraid of stairs when he arrived!) PTL!

I love this picture with us at the very top looking down on the wheelchair that he left behind! Whoo-hoo!!!!

The other items on his list included:

Eating Bo's Ice-Cream,

It is a 50 year old, famous, family-owned ice cream stand and when Phil tried their ice-cream he said it was a good thing he couldn't drive anymore. lol!

He also wanted us to help him walk across the sand and into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico,
(which he did on Memorial Day, hurray! -with hardly any help at all). He also wanted to eat Cuban sandwiches and try a Cuban pastry.

Andrew, our 12 year old, highly encouraged him to achieve all his culinary goals because those two, have almost as much fun just talking about food as they do eating it. ; )


June 2, 2011

The state wide home schoolers graduation ceremony

It was everything I could've hoped for in a graduation!

It was sentimental:

Hand written thank you notes to moms were posted on the screens from each student before it started

It was formal:

The ballroom was gorgeous!

It was inspiring:

This is Rick Scott, the governor of Florida! He spoke and handed the graduates their diplomas and had a photo taken with each one! (which I ended up purchasing for a gazillion dollars, because that is pretty awesome!)

It was fun:

Graduates could wear any color cap and gown they chose, which made the throwing of the caps really a fun, multicolored sight to see. They had every color in the rainbow!
It awesome:

My favorite part was that they announced the achievements and future aspirations of each graduate. They gave you a wonderful picture of the uniqueness of a roomful of home educated students and made you quite proud to be apart of that community.
Lots of kids were headed to universities. Some to community colleges. Some were headed to Christian colleges (not as many as I expected) Some had an unbelievable amount of community service hours. (1000!) One guy was going to go rock climbing in Greece. Another was going to be a singer and hoped "it would prove to be lucrative" which made Nathan and I laugh. And I got a big kick out of this one:
"_______(her name) aspires to fall helplessly and madly in love." LOL!

It was announced how long each one had been home schooled. Twelve years was the average and the shortest was 4 months! My favorite was "since birth." lol! -There is the true spirit of homeschooling for ya! ; )

We are blessed with some SWEET friends who made the trek all the way to Orlando and missed our morning worship service to show their love and support for the 3 kids from our church. They watched all the A's, B's and C's and then they had until "U." I heard later that if you watched Zac get his diploma, (our last name begins with a "C") you could go and get coffee, walk around the massive hotel and come back and unfortunately find out that we were still only on the "M's." LOL!

At one point as we were all politely clapping for someone who's name started with a "Z", the graduates went crazy and the applause went wild and then more excited applause spread throughout the entire ballroom. This girl happened to be the very LAST graduate!!! It was pretty cute and she got just as big a kick out of the extreme enthusiasm as everyone else did showing it. There were 269 graduates so the ceremony a lot of things, BUT it wasn't quick! ; )
And I'm glad! We worked a long time to get to that moment!

The day was absolutely perfect and I know that for sure, because the graduated thanked us and told me so several times! Thank the Lord! Love you, Zac!