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

October 31, 2012

Wednesdays in the Word

From Isaiah 64

Our God:  "acts for the one who waits for Him."

He will:  "meet him who rejoices and does righteousness."

May we be people who:  "Stir (ourselves) up to take hold of You."

Because:  "We are the clay and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hands."

who wants to be 'stirred' up and molded : )

October 30, 2012

My quota for wildlife

Here are some pictures from the kayaking trip:
It was a beautiful morning to be out on a river with our beautiful, sweet, girl!
I'm glad she's also a VERY patient girl because she was behind me in the kayak and I ended up accidentally splashing her with my paddle just about the whole trip! Poor thing.
We were shown a map and some pictures of land marks and given a phone number for emergencies and the pick up times and sent on our way down the river alone.
The scenery was lovely. We had to love the fact that we were going DOWN stream!

In some places there was only about a foot of space for us to get our kayak between logs and fallen trees.
Here's a blue heron!
Why did all those logs in the water have to look like they had eyes and make me nervous about alligators?
Our favorite creatures were the turtles! Although I did spot a baby alligator at one point, I wasn't worried about one that size. Then Joy reminded me that a baby alligator meant there was a mama somewhere nearby and she told me to 'get paddling!' She didn't have to tell me twice!
Here is her 'half way point happy dance!' It was time to land and have lunch! Also time to rest our sore arms.

Not long after this I spotted something that was NOT a log with eyes and it was HUGE and the eyes were real. It had me beat in size. And as I tried to paddle and not panic, something else dove under our kayak which freaked us both out a little and we paddled for all we were worth.
Seeing this sign and taking that left turn meant we made it without getting lost!
 Now to find the landing spot from the photo they showed us....hmmmm
We were 45 minutes early for the pick up time (maybe due to the alligator induced paddling) and also unsure if we were at the landing spot that we were shown a picture of two hours ago. Everything was a blur in our minds by this time. So, we pulled up to a spot we thought was right and walked around the deserted state park. That was then that I realized that I didn't have a signal on my phone and that we were completely alone in the middle of pretty much nowhere. I couldn't phone the canoe company to make sure we were in the right spot. I couldn't call anyone. And then my over active imagination went a little wild with possibly dangerous sceneros which would require me trying to defend us with only my car keys or my rubber paddle should some crazy guy visiting the state park find the two of us alone...
So, we got back in our happy little kayak to wait in the water which seemed safer, (despite the mama gator) where I kept watching the time (and praying). As you can imagine, I was beyond happy to see a rickety old school bus with the canoe company's name on it coming down the dirt trail 40 minutes later. Praise the Lord!

When you add this to shark dissecting I'm pretty sure I've experienced enough nature for one week. ; )

When I got home, I found out that our heavenly home improvement angel had come to visit! (thank you Carlos!) What a blessing to have a friend who comes over and fixes everything that is broken in your whole house! Amazing! He knocked out my hubby's 'honey do' list in no time flat. Now we are all ready for my hubby's brother to arrive and for care-giving adventure # 3 to start.

That night Andrew's dream came true. We were able to attend a Mitt Romney rally! Whoo-hoo! But that was another adventure all together and a post for another day which doesn't include any wildlife. (unless you count 5 protesters who were under the age of 18) ; )

October 28, 2012

Don't read while eating : )

Apparently, the odds are greater that you will to be killed by a vending machine than by a shark,
or so said the instructor at our shark dissecting field trip the other day.
Yeah, I'm not sure I believe her either, but I plan on using that line the next time we are playing in the water at sunset and my hubby says we need to leave due to sharks. ; ) -Because he's pretty much always ready to leave the beach about 30 minutes after we've arrived. LOL

Here is Joy and the doggy spine shark or spiny dog shark. (or something like that) 

The memorable parts of this day:

-Taking out the eyeballs and having brown goop squirt all over the girls

-Cutting open the sharks stomach to find out what it ate last. It was like a treasure hunt! Joy's group had the best find too. Part of an octopus! Blah!

-Finding out what stage of the reproduction process their shark was in. Because when you are a shark, you are pregnant for 2 years and so, pretty much always pregnant! (there's a reason to be glad we aren't sharks!) 

-The instructor telling us how to clean up and dispose of the shark parts and then saying "OK. It's time for lunch!!!" Double blah!!!

-The feeling that I needed to bathe in hand sanitizer even though I didn't touch a thing but my camera the whole time!

Then we all headed to the beach to catch various creatures in dip nets.
Even though it looks like every creature would high tail it out of there (pun intended) they somehow managed to catch 25 different species! Pretty cool.

Here is the view over the draw bridge as we headed for home

Gotta love homeschooling in Florida!


October 26, 2012

The kayaking Groupon trip

Remember that kayaking trip that Joy and Hubby were going on? The one that I said didn't sound like my idea of fun because of the 3 hours of paddling and the Florida heat and the alligators?
Well, it is time to actually go now and Hubby's back isn't up for the adventure. : (
He offered to pay Joy back for the money she spent on the Groupon, but she chose 'the Mom Option' instead. (even though we all know that Mom isn't as fun as Dad) and now I'm going... and its tomorrow!
So, here's hoping:
we don't capsize and don't see any alligators and don't have to paddle upstream and our lunch doesn't fall over board and my arms don't fall off after the first two hours!!!
(see how much fun I am?)
May the Lord miraculously make me fun, brave and adventurous... in a hurry! Amen!

P.S. -Happy Birthday to my wonderful sister, 
who would be the most fun person ever to kayak with, (or do anything else) if she were here! : )

October 25, 2012

Check mark on the bucket list

I've never learned how to dance and I have no rhythm.
At weddings or quinceaƱeras, you will find me wishing I was invisible or that I could hide under a table while my hubby tries to convince me to go out on the dance floor.
We've talked about taking dancing lessons forever, and now I can say that we have finally done it! Yay!
We went to an 'Introductory Ballroom Dance Lesson and Practice Party' Friday night with our friends. We tried to convince all our kids to come...but we only got one taker.
 I would've taken pictures but I was too busy trying to watch my feet and count steps the whole entire time. Then I had to bow out of the electric slide line because I couldn't keep up... Apparently, I'm not a quick learner.
I'm going to need a lot more practice before we go again. Good thing, I have such a cute guy to practice with! : )


October 24, 2012

An abbreviated version of Wednesdays in the Word

One of my favorite verses:

"But the people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits." ~Daniel 11:32 

~Joy and I are off to a field trip of snorkeling and shark dissecting! (that actually sounds like quite an 'exploit' to me but not of a spiritual nature) : ) 


October 22, 2012

Not Teacher Planning Day

So, it is Teacher Planning Day for the public schools in our county and of course I got the never ending stream of questions like "Mom, do we get Teacher Planning Day off?" and "Don't you need a planning day?"
But, I wasn't going for it. ; )

Until they said "Hey, how about we make it Uncle Phil Planning Day?"
Now, that idea had some merit!
My hubby's brother arrives next week (he's a stroke patient and paralyzed on his left side) and that means we have lots to do to get a room ready for him to stay in for four months. We planned to do it Saturday but the weekend already looks like it will be a busy one, so I took them up on it and we all got to work.


Half way into this day, a certain somebody who thought of "Uncle Phil Planning Day" confessed that they thought they would help move furniture and go to and from the attic and be done in two hours and then have the rest of the day off....
But it did not turn out that way.
It took us from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM!
We all forgot somehow, how very much work it is to take apart two whole rooms (Joy's and the family room) and put them back together by swapping furniture and packing up all the things that aren't necessary to have in either one of those rooms for the next four months and putting them in the attic. (which is already full)
WOW! -It was a lot of work!!!

I'm so thankful for their good attitudes! I was the one with the major melt down when it still looked like a bomb hit our house 7 hours into it...

Hubby will be VERY thankful when he gets home from work.

I'm exhausted but Andrew has offered to make dinner, which means fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made with love, can't beat that! : )

I'm very thankful that Joy went along with giving up her room this time around which will make things easier for the whole family and so far she is happy with her new 'room' in the family room with the curtain for a wall.

We are 95% ready for Phil to arrive on Monday night. PTL! Glad we didn't wait until the last minute.

I'm pretty sure this is a Teacher Planning Day that we won't soon forget and I know what we won't be doing on the next one. ; )


October 19, 2012

A post in which I brag : )

Our oldest son is 19 and has been working at Starbucks for a little over a year and he just found out that they want to make him a shift supervisor! Whoo-hoo!

So proud of him! The store manager told him that they couldn't think of anyone else better for the job. (even though other people are older and have been there longer) They said he "is always on time, works harder than anyone else and is respectful to everyone." Amen!

It would be hard to work 30+ hours a week and go to school full time though, so he may not take it. We are praying for him as he decides.

Here is another thing I love. I've been praying that our kids would be like Daniel in this verse:

"Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm." Dan. 6:3-4   -And that just sort of sounds like what happened! PTL!

Blessed to have a faithful God and a diligent son! : )


October 18, 2012

Heaven in the form of mini muffins

Here is the recipe for our all time favorite muffins!
They are pumpkin butterscotch muffins and they are to die for! -Hubby has informed me they work well for the purpose of bribery and he is off to run an errand for me to the grocery store.

They are SO yummy and so rich that it is best to make them the size of mini muffins. (that way you can easily loose track of how many you've had) ; )

Pumpkin Butterscotch Muffins

1 stick of butter
1 3/4 cups of flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 can (16 oz) canned pumpkin
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 bag of butterscotch chips

Melt butter in bowl and set aside to cool. In large bowl add all dry ingredients and stir thoroughly. Add pumpkin, eggs and vanilla to melted butter and stir. Add wet ingredients to dry. Don't over mix. Spray muffin tin. Stir in butterscotch chips. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill tins 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15 min. Makes 40 mini muffins. 

My daughter says that I should add that they are better than they look! ; )


October 17, 2012

Wednesdays in the Word

The other night during our devotional, one of the kids said "I think God is definitely right handed." : )

Here are some of my favorites verses about His right hand:

"Even there Your hand shall lead me and Your right hand shall hold me." Ps. 139:10

"For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword nor did their own right hand save them, But it was Your right hand, Your right arm, and the light of your countenance, because You favored them." Ps.44:3

"Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You. Your right hand upholds me." Ps.63:6-8


October 16, 2012

Apparently we are hard to please

Our friends want to come over and watch the second presidential debate with us and they wanted to bring a pie. I'm sure they greatly regret asking us what kind to buy now because they received a text from Nathan that went like this:

"Just took a huge vote and all of us have a favorite we all love but one of us hates it.
We all love pumpkin but my dad hates it.
They all love cherry but I hate it.
We all love pecan but Mom hates it,
We all love key lime but Andy hates it,
Therefore, we have all decided to settle for apple." LOL

~And they texted back that it took us so long to decide they got

a coffee cake! bahahaha


October 15, 2012

The weekend

On Friday night we found that all of our teens had plans,

sooooo that left us with nothing else to do but

Poor us! ; )

I still had a gift card from my birthday to Outback (thank you, Carlos!)
so we headed there first and ate way too much. That deal they have on a four course meal for $15 is outrageous. I had to take half the entree home but miraculously found room for the cheesecake. ; ) -Because there was chocolate involved!

Then we headed to the movies, (which is a rare treat for us) to see Argo and as we were about to wait in line for tickets, we got a text from my BFF (sent earlier that night) wondering if we wanted to get together. It just so happened that at that moment her and her hubby were at the same movie theater and were already seated waiting to see the same movie! How crazy is that?! So they saved us seats and we had fun seeing it together. The movie was really good! (minus the cussing, which was plentiful) Great true story!

Saturday, my hubby wasn't working and so we had a care-giving planning session together because at the end of this month his brother will arrive to spend the next 4 months with us. (he is a stroke patient) Then we did other productive things for the yard, car and house. Nothing exciting and then we did lots of relaxing.

Fall means that it is time for me to make all things PUMPKIN! : )
Last night: pumpkin waffles. This morning: pumpkin pancakes. Tonight: pumpkin butterscotch muffins. -I tend to overdo things a bit, LOL
but no one here is complaining! ; )

Recipes to come!


October 10, 2012

Wednesdays in the Word

We all know the story of Daniel in the lions den, and how awesome Daniel was but I'm here today to say that King Darius was pretty great in some ways too.

He was rather tricked into making that whole decree that landed Daniel in the lions den in the first place and so "he labored til the going down of the sun to deliver him (Daniel)."

And when those efforts proved to be unsuccessful, he encouraged Daniel and said (by faith) "Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you." (awesome!)

Darius couldn't sleep that night while Daniel was in the den (for obvious reasons) and he "arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions." His lamenting question (probably due to his part in all this) was "Daniel, servant of the Living God, has your God, whom you serve continually been able to deliver you from the lions?"

-Notice how he always describes Daniel as someone who 'serves his God continually.' I think that is awesome! May those around us testify that we do the same! Amen?

"Now the king was exceedingly glad for him (Daniel)." (here's where it gets a little graphic -blah!)
"The king gave command and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives, and the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den."

Then he makes a better decree:
"I decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble in fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the Living God and steadfast forever. His kingdom is one which shall not be destroyed and his dominion shall endure to the end. He delivers and rescues, (Amen!) and He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth." (yes, He does)

He can turn a den of death into a platform of praise from a heathen king!


October 9, 2012

Purity rings and things

When our kids turn sixteen we give them a purity ring or thing of their choice. We are now on our 3rd 16 year old!

Son #1 didn't actually choose a ring, he chose a compass! He likes to keep things low key and jewelry is not his thing. We had it engraved with a verse. Hubby loves the spiritual significance of a compass. He'd love to buy them all compasses! ; )

Son #2 decided to 'go big' and chose a real wedding band! He was so enthusiastic about wearing a purity ring that it couldn't be just any purity ring. It had to be the real thing!

Our daughter, has decided on a ring. It is from the Lord of the Rings movies. No, it is not the 'ring of power!' LOL

It is the ring that Galadriel wore. She was the elven queen.

Here it is:

The ring is described online as "geeky but elegant." A very cute description that she decided fits her perfectly.

(cute how their choices reflect something about them)

I had a purity symbol, too. Mine was a necklace that a preacher and his wife gave me. The charm was a heart cut in half that I wore and they saved the other half then gave it to my hubby on our wedding day. I had fun showing it to our daughter tonight.

May the Lord help all four of them to strive for purity and reap the continued blessings it brings.


October 5, 2012

Political happenings

This is one ironic campaign poster  LOL! We do 'owe' A LOT, Mr. President!
Did you watch the presidential debate on Wednesday night? We did.
I was kind of heart broken that I was not at church because a German woman was speaking to our girls class and telling her story about living in Berlin during the time of Hitler!!! How awesome is that?! -Especially if you just read a biography of Bonhoeffer! I was sooo excited.
But our van started breaking down on the way and we had to turn around. So, I comforted myself with the fact that I was not stuck by the side of the road and that I got to watch the whole debate! (Yay! Romney!)
If Joy did not have a dance class to teach today with 14 girls counting on her, we would be seeing Romney at a rally this very afternoon, a bonus of living in a battleground state.
Our youngest, Andrew, is absolutely positive that he has been on every worthwhile field trip possible and cannot be convinced to go on any more. Not a one. Not even to the science museum where they will be climbing a ropes course 36 feet in the air! Or snorkeling at the beach and then dissecting a shark! -How many kids get to do that in a day? Nope, not going. Which makes me wonder 'Where is my son and what have you done with him?!' ; ) I guess his home educated mom burned him out on field trips.

But we must have started something with this one
when we went to hear John McCain speak!

Nathan, Andrew and Joy
because the ONLY event he wants to go to is a rally for Romney!
There have been 3 in our area, but so far it hasn't worked out...  : (
But here's another bonus to living in a battleground state, we are all going to this:

which he will hopefully enjoy. I know his dad sure is excited!


October 4, 2012

A bit of insanity

I remember a worn out little card that my dad used to carry around in his wallet which had a cartoon picture of a man pulling out his hair and it said: "Insanity is inherited. You get from your kids." -Which makes me wonder now if I was quite a handful. ; )

One of the things that throws us for a loop around here is when one of the boys uses our bathroom when Joy and I are trying to get ready. Maybe because it takes us a lot longer than it takes them to get ready. Amen? I'm pretty sure they do it because we keep our bathroom much cleaner than they keep theirs. : )
So, the other day when our schedule was in danger of getting all out of whack and a certain boy was showering in our bathroom and not theirs, I knocked on the door and said "You are suppose to use your bathroom." To which I heard this muffled reply: 
"Its not written in stone!"
And that is how I found myself writing "Use your own bathroom" with permanent marker on a rock and handing it to him later! ; ) 
-Now it is! 

October 3, 2012

Wednesdays in the Word

Here is what I loved in Daniel chapter one, today:

"But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank."

Daniel made a decision beforehand.
Before the issue ever came up, he knew what he would and would not do.
What do we need to 'purpose in our hearts' long before the situation arises?

Here's what GOD did for Daniel, which I'm pretty sure had to do with the fact that Daniel stuck to his principles and was steadfast and faithful:

-"God brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs."

-"God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams."

-"the king interviewed them and among them all none was found like Daniel (and his 3 friends)..."

-"And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in his realm."

May the Lord help us to trust in Him and stick to our principles when we are tested and may we also see His loving and abundant favor!


October 1, 2012

Birthday club

A sweet friend of mine wanted to get together and go out to celebrate a friend of ours birthday. Then I found out from that friend that it was Friend #1's birthday in a week and I said that we should celebrate Friend #1's birthday along with Friend #2's. Then Friend #1 also wanted to invite Friend #3, who was also having a birthday the week after hers (amazing!) and we all love Friend #3! Then Friend #1 said that since my birthday was two weeks after Friend #3's, maybe we should celebrate all four of them at once....

Or at least, I think that is how it happened...it is a little hazy now but that is basically how the Birthday Club came about!

And it only took us busy homeschooling moms about 2 months to find a date that would work for all of us! ; )

 So, in actuality, it isn't really anyone's birthday anymore but we are going out tonight to an organic coffee shop for some dessert eating, coffee drinking, gift exchanging, and girl talking to celebrate that it WAS our birthdays!

These three ladies are some of my very favorites! 

They are such godly women who have huge servants' hearts. Isn't it a blessing to know people like that?

Those servants' hearts are one of the reasons that we've all been the president of our large home school support group at one time or another.
Which means that we've all had to 'fill each other's shoes' and that wasn't easy to do...because they were 'big shoes to fill.'  -But maybe it was that experience that has given us this special bond! Which reminds me of this verse:
"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap..."