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

November 30, 2012

Up, up and away

A sweet sixteen party did not interest Joy. She wanted to go for a ride in a hot air balloon! -She is our adventurer. : )

We ended up having to get up at an hour that started with a 3! Oh my! I'm so glad I didn't realize that would be the case earlier in the week. We had a little road trip to take before the sunrise balloon ride could take place.

Here's Joy and 'M' "signing their lives away" as they said.

Then they made a video... of their wills, "just in case."
 -Andrew, you might be happy to know that if Joy didn't come back safely, she was leaving everything to you. : ) 'M' said she wanted to be buried with her iPhone and her Bible.

Uncle Phil has been on a hot air balloon before, and last night he kept warning Joy about power lines. -So after they made their wills, they made a plan too jump out of their balloon together, if it got to close to any power lines. ; )

An expectant woman read the waiver and realized she needed to inform the balloon company that she was pregnant. She didn't want them to tell her she couldn't ride. Hubby and I thought they would let her ride but not require her help in the setting up of the balloon which was apart of the ride. She asked our advice about whether she should inform them or not and I said 'Yes!' (what else would I say? I'm a type A, rule follower) Guess what? For legal reasons, she couldn't go on the balloon and then she was mad...at me. She was pointing at me and saying it was my fault. (that was one awkward situation) She called her unborn child a 'jerk' for keeping her from being able to ride. (praying she doesn't call her child such things after it is born!) The company offered her a rain check (such a GREAT company for so many reasons) and so all ended well. Her party of 4 decided to wait until she could ride too and they left. After the waivers were signed, it was time to leave.

Everyone got in the vans and drove to the field...
Just before sunrise!
That is one mighty big basket!
It was cold and Dad loaned the girls his jacket and sweatshirt for more layers
They blew up the balloons and then turned on the burner
All smiles
-Then not so much!  -Bless M's heart, she was terrified!

Then the sun came up!
And they were on their way!
Or just about!
There they go!
Into the sunrise!

And before we knew it they were the third speck from the left!
Why did we let our baby go two thousand feet up in the air again?! -I can't remember! ; )
Then it was time to hop in our van and join the crew in chasing those specks in the fog to the landing spot
Here is balloon number one getting ready to come down. Joy was in the one to the far right...too far right.. They missed the landing spot due to the missing weight of the expectant woman's group. 
And right about now, I'm freaking out about power lines and hoping our girls don't JUMP out after all ; ) 
Here's where I'm glad they are safe even if they aren't landing.
Off they went for another 30 minutes in search of another field to land in...
We decided that chasing them would be pretty much impossible and knowing us, we'd surely get lost, so that is when we decided to go to breakfast instead. LOL!
If we had chased their balloon, the landing would have looked similar to this, except it would have been next to some cows 'with horns' and had a barbed wire fence that they had to crawl through.
 So, I think I'm glad I didn't know about any of that until they were safe and sound and on the GROUND at the champagne brunch! I think I aged a year before it noon!

~Becky, who slept like a woman in a comma when she got home! ; )

November 28, 2012

Wednesdays in the Word

A couple of Sundays ago it was the official day to remember the persecuted church around the world and it turned into a day that rocked mine...
We were informed about what is happening to the believers in Nigeria, Egypt, Iran and Pakistan. We did a lot of praying and some crying. It was very sobering. We were implored to keep the brethren in these countries in our prayers, and lest we forget, hubby and I have set an alarm that goes off at 9:00 PM every night to remind us to do just that.

"In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world." John 16:33
Tribulation = oppression, stress, adversity, crushing, squeezing, distress. (as in the crushing of olives or grapes)

"Think it not strange, concerning the fiery trial that is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you..." -And I always do 'think it strange' and unfair and like God's forgotten me...Pitiful, I know!

"But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed but on your part He is glorified." 1 Peter 4:12-14

Oh Lord, May I remember these brethren and PRAY:
~ The girl who was set on fire, by people she knew, for her faith.
~The young woman whose throat was slit, who lived and forgave!
~The young boys who saw their parents and siblings killed because they were Christians and who were themselves slit with cutlasses and left for dead, but lived.
~The pastor who was beaten
~The evangelist whose home was burned down and yet he preaches still...

If you'd like to be more informed about brethren around the world go to Voice of the Martyrs website.

"He will redeem their life from oppression and violence and precious shall be their blood in His sight." Psalm 72:14

November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving week

What a week! Wow!
Joy's purity ring arrived in the mail. We had a fun day out together on Monday.

Tuesday was a normal school day around here.
Wednesday I gave the kiddos the day off and they blessed my socks off by helping with all the dishes for Thanksgiving.
Their help made it the easiest Thanksgiving for me ever, if you don't count when we've been invited to other people's homes. ; ) Besides the food, Thanksgiving included lots of games. Hubby had archery, basketball and croquet competitions with prizes for everyone to play that day. Joy helped make the archery targets with the bulls-eyes being 'bad guys' pictures from their favorite movies. lol

Isn't he cute?
Zac took advantage of the opportunity to make time and a half and worked in the morning and came home in time for the our meal. It was great day of food and fun. (and football, if you ask the guys!)

Our kids went to bed that night and it was Thanksgiving and woke up to Christmas, because every Black Friday, Hubby and I get up early and go to breakfast and then buy a Christmas tree at Home Depot along with gorgeous 99 cent poinsettias and a wreath. -Always one of my favorite days. Then the decorating started. And once it looked like Christmas around here,

 it was time to decorate over that all that for Joy's birthday dinner! (thank you Andrew and Dad) They decided to make it a 'birthday tree' for the night. ; )

She chose a campfire theme which was fun.
Happy Birthday Joy!

We had sausages that we roasted and sauteed veggies that Zac cooked over the fire. Yum!

 Then we tried a dessert from Pinterest called 'campfire cones.' Here are a bunch of the yummy things we put in our waffle cones:
 Once we filled them, we wrapped them in foil and put them in the fire!

-We either over cooked them or under cooked them but they were fun to make and yummy no matter what.
Saturday we got up (at an hour I never have before) and left the house EARLY for her birthday gift, which was a ride in a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. -The beauty of that event deserves a whole post of its own.

This mom is plum worn out! But it was a GREAT week! ; ) And I have a two week break between the next set of birthdays. Whew!


November 21, 2012

The Thanksgiving Proclaimation

I loved reading Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation in our American history curriculum yesterday. He meant it to be a day of "Thanksgiving and Praise" (not just thanksgiving) and he recommended that his fellow citizens use this day to "reverently humble themselves in the dust." Wow!
He's always worthy of our thanks and praise and it is a great time to remember that "Almighty God the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe" assigned us to the United States of America "as a dwelling place for ourselves and our posterity" and it is still the greatest nation on earth!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

"Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby, appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day, which I desire to be observed by all my fellow citizens wherever they may then be as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to Almighty God the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do farther recommend to my fellow citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union and harmony throughout the land, which it has pleased him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done in the city of Washington this twentieth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty four, and, of the Independence of the United States the eighty ninth." 

November 19, 2012

A day to play

My hubby worked soooo many hours in the last two weeks, that he had to take a day and a half off. Hooray, hooray!

Friday he made the fam a huge breakfast and then I got the kids started on school and we hit the road! 
We went downtown to 'the world's largest continuous sidewalk' which is 4.5 miles long. Here's an aerial view of the sidewalk (thanks Google!) because I didn't have a camera with me.

Such a beautiful place to walk!

The view was quite distracting. One side of the sidewalk, is the bay and on the other, these gorgeous homes:

I really wanted to walk the entire sidewalk, but didn't quite make it. Hubby was making jokes that he would probably need to go and get the car to pick me up so I promised not to go so far that I couldn't do the walk back. : )  We ended up walking 8 miles! Whoo-hoo!
Then we went to lunch, where we probably ate all those calories we just burned. ; )

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE days when the principal and the teacher play hooky! 


November 16, 2012

The birthday season has begun

During this time of year, we only go a week or two between birthdays.

Last weekend, my hubby's best friend, Carlos, had a birthday!

We gave him a healthy-ish type of party with two types of salads and a homemade applesauce cake.

This weekend was my brother-in-law's birthday. His request was bratwursts and sauerkraut. (nothing healthy about this party except the tofu dogs my BFF brought for herself-LOL)

Nathan and I made him the Duggar Family's ice cream cake recipe.

This cake includes two rows of 12 ice cream sandwiches, cool whip, crushed Butterfingers and chocolate and carmel syrup. Crazy, but yummy! Hubby wants this cake for his birthday too!

Then our next birthday to celebrate, will be Joy's on Thanksgiving!!!

She'll be turning 16 and is going for a ride in one of these at sunrise:

(I'll be yawning and praying for safety from the ground!) ; )
After landing, she and her friend will enjoy a champagne breakfast, minus the champagne, of course,which sounds like a nice way to end their adventure.

Lots of (yummy) birthday fun to be had around here in the next couple of months!

November 14, 2012

Wednesdays in the Word

This scripture in Revelations struck me the other day and has been popping up in my mind randomly and often:

"But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murders, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Rev. 21:8

I find the order of this list fascinating. Why would cowardly come before murders? Is it least to greatest or greatest to least? Or in a random order?
Anyway, it has caused me to be thinking about cowardice  (the lack of courage or resolution) and courage (mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty) ever since.
The word 'coward' always reminds me of the Cowardly Lion who wanted courage in the Wizard of Oz. The Bible says that the "Righteous are bold as a lion."
And so I've been thinking about the need to show courage in all the different situations I find myself in and the need to praise courage before my children.

Then I read this quote from Sally Clarkson and loved it! (to read her whole post, go here)
                       “There will always be giants in our land.
There will always be circumstances, people and matters of life that could potentially threaten to overwhelm us.

Perhaps the icy cold fingers of fear squeezing out all of the hope in one’s heart for what might happen
to a child, a job, a marriage, a life;
the darkness of depression hanging heavily as a cloud over all the moments of a day;
exhaustion and weariness dragging the body stumbling through foggy moments of day;
illness that threatens to overwhelm life;
a marriage that bruises and wounds deep where no one else sees;
bitterness or blame that steals each moment of thought into death and hate;
loneliness so palpable and sad, the obscurity of being unknown in life’s burdens and ignored and uncared for;
All and more might be the Giant’s names, and yet,
 The grace and beauty of a mother, deciding to stand up to the threats of the giant,
to attack her would-be foe, with weapons of heaven’s design,
This warrior mama, who understands civilizing her home, can make her giant story one of a memory of the power of God.
When she understand the import of the civilizing of our lands, our homes, our families,
these the foundations of a future adult generation that will exercise moral courage and fortitude.
and exhibit strength in places of leadership,
she understands that our children are watching us as we exhibit courage, so that some day, they will know how to be courageous.
And so, we mamas exhibit strength instead of fear, so that some day they will be strong."

"He who OVERCOMES shall inherit all things and I will be his God and he shall be My son." ~Rev. 21:7


November 12, 2012

My experience as a poll worker

I'm sure you can imagine the stress of being a new poll worker for this election!The poll I worked at had people lining up at 6:00 AM and waiting an hour and half to vote.
I was a SO nervous. There were so many scenarios we had to learn for what to do if: people didn't have a valid photo or a signature i.d. or needed assistance to vote, or had a change of address, or were at the wrong poll, or voted absentee and forgot (WHO does that?!) or requested to vote absentee and never did etc...
But guess what? 
Everyone was friendly, most were excited about their right to vote, and most of them had their driver's license, (hooray!) which made it a piece of cake. At one point during the 14 hour day, I even got a chance to 'rest' and be the lady passing out the stickers. : )

I congratulated the first time voters (who were older than I am, to my surprise). We all cheered for the first timer who was 18. I was happy an angry homeless woman was able to vote. I was in awe of a woman who looked to be on death's doorstep, who brought her almost blind son, to assist her in voting. I rejoiced with a man who made it out of the hospital, and came straight over to vote. I mourned with another man whose wife was in the hospital and couldn't. I laughed with the man who asked for two ballots.

There was a poll watcher in blue that we weren't allowed to speak to and since my party didn't have one, I secretly appointed myself for the job. ; )
 -No voter fraud at our poll! I was very impressed with procedures on all sides. During the time that I was, what we called 'Sticker Girl,' our ballot machine reached it's maximum capacity. I happened to be standing beside it as the clerk took all the ballots out and put them in the ballot-luggage-holder and then locked every zipper with official zip ties and the SOE official took it away. (that was another moment of awe)

Our poll didn't get a last minute rush like we expected. After the poll closed we started counting up the signatures (of those who'd voted) in each of our registers and then switched registers to check the counts of the other poll workers. Counting isn't usually hard but this was at the end of a very long day and we were SO tired by then, if anyone said a number out loud, then we'd tell each other to 'shhh!' so we didn't loose count and have to start over. It also did not help me when the poll watcher decided to stand right over me while I counted. 

I had a great team to work with and we truly enjoyed spending the day working together. A few were sweet retirees, one was a dry-wall guy and one young woman, who loved the voting/election process even more than I do. It was a great experience and I enjoyed meeting and serving ALL types of people who came to cast their vote for the next leader of the free world. Maybe I'll do it again in four years. The only problem was that I couldn't stay awake after having been up since 4:00 AM to actually see the results! 
But, then I didn't like the results anyway...

But, I do love the process
May God bless America!

November 9, 2012


Sunday nights are Waffle Night!
We used to go to the 'bell of tacos' ; )
after church every Sunday night, but that was before the cost of just going to and from church became $9.00 a trip in gas. (gag, choke!) So, now we head home for homemade waffles made with flour that I grind myself. (maybe the vitamins in it will make up for what we put on them! Let's hope) 
Hubby says I need a bigger waffle maker because I just can't turn them out fast enough. Our kids usually invite other teens over for Waffle Night, so we've got quite a crew.

We've had regular waffles, pumpkin waffles and even Nutella waffles, (because Nutella anything is fabulous!) but the  absolute favorite has been apple pie waffles! These are waffles with Greek yogurt, apple pie filling and syrup on top! Yummm!
Give them a try! : )


November 7, 2012

On this post election day

This verse came to mind today:

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan." ~Prov. 29:2

I've done lots of 'groaning' this morning, but then...

This song also came to mind and I'm choosing to put my focus here:

"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name."


Really glad we did our part though!


November 4, 2012

For the love of voting

Since I LOVE the right to vote and the whole democratic process and this is such an important election, I thought it would be fun to be a poll worker! Not to mention, it seemed like a well paying job for one's day work and we have a purity ring to buy. : ) (little did I know what was involved!)

When I was 18, I voted for the first time at a poll down the street from my house in someone's garage. (do they still use resident's garages for polls these days? I doubt it)

I used to love to bring my kids with me to the poll when they were little. One year they were given ballots with a bunch of past presidents to choose from like Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington and they had their own ballot box. Too cute. Now I have an 18 year old who is going to vote in his first presidential election and a 17 year old, who will miss getting to vote by 5 weeks.

I still only have to walk down the street to vote, but now my poll is a 100 year old church. I love the run-down-but-sweet look of the old building as you open the door and the kind, elderly poll workers who crack jokes when you arrive and then make you feel like a million dollars for voting. That is why I have never wanted to vote by mail before. But this year, I had to. Being a poll worker means that I won't have time to and I'm not working at my poll. -Wow, was voting by mail ever convenient! I might have to stop being sentimental do that every year. ; )

Back to the pay...
When you realize that you have to go to a 2 hour orientation class and then a 3 hour poll worker training class, study your manual, help set up the poll on Monday night and work at least 13 hours on Election day...it doesn't seem to pay as well as I thought. ; )  My hubby has been teasing me that I will probably make about $3 an hour when it is all said and done. LOL Oh well. I'll just have to keep remembering that I LOVE the election process and hope that I still think it is 'fun' 7:00 PM Tuesday night! (or quite possible 10:00 PM)

We, of course, have to be totally impartial that day and cannot discuss anything related to the election or even speak the candidates names, which I totally agree with. But TODAY, on the day BEFORE the election....
my teens (and one borrowed kiddo) and I went to help out at Romney's campaign office!!!! Whoo-hoo! A very exciting place to be on the day before the election! They had us making phone calls. -Phone calls to people who are VERY tired of being called! Oh, do my kids have some stories to tell about those calls!!!
Our county is so important to the vote in FL that people from other states were there to help make calls. Amazing.

Lots of memories made today. Not to mention, a TV camera recorded Andrew making one of his calls and I got my picture taken for our newspaper. Then to our surprise, Connie Mack, who is running for Senator, stopped by to encourage us and give a speech. Our kids met him and had him sign their campaign poster and have their picture taken with him.

I was assigned to a poll in well, the slums, actually, and my hubby exercised his right to veto me working there. I was, thankfully, reassigned to a poll in a great neighborhood with a fun team of workers who are meeting for breakfast at 5:30 AM and who are all bringing various casseroles to insure that we don't starve. (we are not allowed to leave the poll all day/night) I'm off to study my manual and get to bed early.

Be sure to go and exercise your right to vote! It's a close race!
Go Romney!


November 2, 2012

A night to remember

Andrew got his wish! Mitt Romney came back to our area again and we were able to go. Whoohoo!
(this was the only 'field trip' Andrew wanted to do this year and it had not worked out for us to go 3 other times) Love when God gives my children the 'desires of the their heart.'

We got stuck in an absolute sea of traffic and finally decided to ditch our van and walk a mile! Best decision ever!

My hubby's boss' daughter was asked to sing the National Anthem and she did a fabulous job!

It was a gorgeous night to be outside looking into a beautiful sunset

on a high school football field hearing (hopefully) the next leader of the free world speak about his hopes for this great country!