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

December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013

Some Christmas highlights stored in my heart:

~All the wonderful time spent with my Hubby, who was off from work for most of the week.
~A fun, last minute shopping trip with the kiddo who had to do last minute chores to earn that Christmas shopping money.
~The church's gift wrapping outreach at the mall where I found out I wrap too slow, even if it is free. LOL
~Our girl, who was in the choir at the Christmas Eve service who had to dress in 'earth tones' and look Mumford and Sons-ish (which I had to google) and which required some shopping and then more shopping and then an emergency shopping trip ten minutes before the event. Oh.My.Mercy
~The GREAT anticipation for our son's arrival on Christmas Eve. -The airport is kind of a fun place to be on that night! The tall people of the family looking out for him for me and then letting me get to him first and hug the daylights out of him.
~Us, happy parents listening to 3 reunited brothers chatting in the car all the way to the Christmas Eve service. The one who was gone seeing his sister on the stage and telling me 'She's so pretty.'
~The beauty of the candle light service.

~Hubby hitting it out of the park with the Christmas Eve steak.
 ~All 6 of us cozy on the couches to watch one of the kids favorites: White Christmas.
~A certain son who was so happy to be home because he can now put his clothes "in that wonderful basket and everything comes back clean."
~His sister asking him if he came home "bearing gifts?" -Boy did he! He blew his siblings' minds. : )
~There were "reindeer games" that we all joined in and our oldest humbly dominated.
~Christmas ham and other goodies were consumed.
~We rushed off to see a movie that night only to find that the rest of the world was at the same theater. One amazing cherry pie made up for not seeing it.
~A documentary on Hubby's favorite band for Christmas reminded us that he couldn't miss their upcoming free concert. Our crazy adventure to secure those free tickets from the odd ticket drop location.
 ~The party for Nathan and all his favorite friends. Fettuccine, ping-pong, air-soft, archery, frisbee, Call of Duty and a jam session because they are all so talented....
~Heading to the concert with our brave, dearly loved friends. All of us wondering if we were the oldest people in the crowd. -Not quite, a 60 year old woman offered of us pot. LOL (that was weird)
 ~Seeing Switchfoot with their biggest fan! -Free and priceless!

Having company everyday since Christmas and for the week to come, a blessing!

Enjoying every sweet minute,

December 28, 2013

Together again!

Merry Christmas!
~From this happy Mom!

December 19, 2013

Scenes from the season

I can't believe that Christmas is next week already!

Now that the kids are back, we are enjoying Ann Voskamp's book for our Christmas devotions
These are the ornaments that go with the book
Christmas devos always include something yummy

The new way we are hanging our Christmas cards 

"The weary world rejoices" banner made with maps!
Our tree with the star that insists on staying crooked

The table (with a crooked candle. I think we have a theme going)

Our favorite Christmas books through the years

Only 5 more days until ALL our kiddos are home again! Can't wait!


December 18, 2013

Wednesday in the Word

"Religion says do,
Jesus says done.

Religion is man searching for God.
Jesus is God searching for man.

Religion is pursuing God by our moral efforts.
Jesus is God pursuing us despite our moral efforts.

Religious people kill for what they believe.
Jesus followers die for what they believe." 

Taken from Jefferson Bethke's book:

Jesus>Religion: Why He is so Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More and Being Good Enough


December 16, 2013

Back from California

Our kids came back from CA on Saturday night!!!
They were a little weary and a little sick but they had a fabulous time!!!

Here are some pictures of all the beauty and the fun!

Thank you to our dearest friends, the 'L' Family for giving them such a wonderful time with their best friends, brother and extended family!!! Love you guys!

-Thanks to Joy and Marcie for the photos! They made this mom feel like she was almost there!) : )

December 12, 2013


A couple of years ago, we started a new Christmas tradition.

In early December we pick out what we'd like to buy for someone else's family for Christmas from the World Vision catalog. We set out a jar and put in our change and offerings which grow as the season progresses.
(not our tithes, which we strongly believe go to our local church where we are spiritually fed, sorry for getting preachy on you!) : )
This year we have a little clay pot that reminds us that "He who gives to the poor will lack nothing."
(Psalm 28:27) Amen!
We chose a dairy goat for the last couple of years, which means "the family can sell surplus milk, cheese, and yogurt at the market to earn money for medicine and other necessities."

But this year the kids decided they wanted to try to buy "more than a goat." (I love that!!!!)
They also want to try to supply mosquito nets for a family, which are coated in insecticide to protect children from malaria. And they want to help a victim of human trafficking with restoration of "physical and spiritual health, safe shelter, medical care, food and vocational training." (which I can't read without choking up)

Anyway, I counted what is in the pot so far and I'm happy to report we have the goat covered! Hooray!
Here's World Vision's Christmas website in case you'd like to join in the fun and do some life-changing giving! Their deadline to deliver by Christmas is December 16th.


December 11, 2013

We have a 19 year old!

On this day 19 years ago, I gave birth to a sweet, laid back, easy baby who was always smiling. He could be happy in a room full of strangers and would let anyone hold him. He's been a people person from the get go. He's oh-so-funny and has always lived life with a passion. We've watched that passion go from LEGOS to the plight of  human trafficking victims. There's been bunches of passions in between and many since.
He'll talk your ear off about technology and he watches tutorials from Apple for fun. He's passionate about worship and his keyboard and synth are a part of who he is. He's merciful, kind and compassionate. He has an uncanny insight into people.
 He loves God and His word and he makes a difference in the lives of the people he is around.
We are so proud of him and can't wait to see him on Christmas Eve!
Happy Birthday, Nate!


Wednesdays in the Word

Some good reminders from Romans 14

"For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself."

"But why do you judge your brother or why do you show contempt for your brother?
For we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ."

"So then each of us shall give account of himself to God."

"Therefore let us not judge one another anymore..."

"Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and things by which we may edify another." : )


December 10, 2013

From the heater to the air conditioner

I am ever soooo glad to have my hubby back from Boulder!!!!!! xoxox

He had a great time visiting his dad for their birthdays. He also had the opportunity to spend time with one of his dearest friends, whom he has known since the 6th grade! -How great is that?!

This time last week, I was shopping for: gloves, hat, a scarf and long underwear with the temperature being in the 80's here. I had some serious doubts about finding that long underwear, but I finally did. All those things were certainly a must. -It was 7 degrees below zero one evening, when the ice caused someone to rear-end him. I can't even imagine how cold that is. They had some black outs and his hotel lost power as he was checking out. He took a chilly walk to the grocery store to buy his dad a birthday cake and then the grocery store lost power..so, no cake. But it is the thought that counts and they had a nice time together.
He took a shuttle to the airport with a shuttle driver who didn't know his way around town and didn't follow the GPS, which made things...interesting. He was able to give him directions and thankfully wasn't late for his flight...back to the land-of-heat.
 -I heard him say something this morning that I've never heard anyone say before: "I like the humidity!' : )

I have no one to home school this week since Joy and Andrew are away. -We joked that I'd resort to teaching the dog (tricks) but it hasn't come to that yet. ; ) LOL


December 9, 2013

All spread out

Our family has been divided up in three states this weekend, which is a first.
Hubby is in Colorado,
Joy and Andrew are in California
and Zac and I are in Florida. -According to this map, we are in the only warm state. : )
It is not very Christmasy though!

December 6, 2013

The hills that were alive had to wait

So, due to various things that happened last night, we didn't get to watch the Sound of Music after all. But Joy had my back with the DVR, so there will be Sound of Music viewing tonight! Hooray!
(from the folks on my FB, it sounds like no one can take Julie Andrews place!)
Then we are headed to bed early because we have a road trip to take at 5:30 AM! Two of our kids are headed to California for the week.They are soooo excited to see their brother, their best friends, their grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins!
 (our elderly neighbor thought they needed a whole box of Ding Dongs to take along for the trip. LOL)
I'm totally not sure what I will do with myself all week
but my heart is full knowing that some of our kids will be together this week and enjoy some birthday celebrations with people they love.

"So long, farewell...." : )

December 5, 2013

I'm so excited about this:


Here's hoping that a certain girl gets out of choir early
or that we finally figure out how to work the DVR! : )
What could be better than the Sound of Music at Christmastime?

Wishing it wasn't 82 degrees here at the moment!

December 4, 2013

Wednesdays in the Word (which was almost the Thursday edition) : )

I've had this verse on my mind: 

"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
When it is in the power of your hand to do so." ~Proverbs 3:27

The fact is, that we all have a sphere of influence and we can be pleasant to those in our sphere, which is awesome, or we can go a step further and we can proactively look for ways to 'do good' and make a real and lasting impact.

Whenever 'good' is in my 'power' I want to be open to the Lord and look for the ways HE wants me to do 'it'! : )


December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving and the Reindeer Games

Thanksgiving was full of fun and food!
We did most of our cooking on Wednesday and per my tradition, I had to run out to the 'madhouse,' otherwise known as Publix,
twice on Wednesday night. Ugh! -I felt like sharing butter with everyone I knew once I made it out alive. ; )

Thanksgiving Day, while all the yumminess was in the oven, we started 'The Reindeer Games!
There were games that required skill and some that were just up to luck. There was a point system and a whole lot of tallying going on all day and a prize for the overall winner.

Joy, getting her Katniss on! ; )

Portable ping pong, best idea ever! Thankful for our huge table!
fooseball tourney
Farkle fun

Frisbee throwing through a suspended hula hoop
Around the World (basketball)
the worst Around the World player ever! ; )
Hubby also had the winners of various games say one thing they were thankful for and mention one historical Thanksgiving fact to get the maximum amount of points possible, because he's cute like that. And then one of our kiddos, who will remain nameless, mixed up Squanto with Tonto, much to this homeschooling mom's horror. JK! ; )

Because we have a weird sense of humor, we staged pictures of Bree, who was sleeping in the sun during the fun, with arrows behind her. LOL

That night we found out that the winner was.....

This guy 
who received a gift card to the movies.

And then we all felt like 'winners' because we ate some of this amazing cherry pie ; )

Joy's first pie ever! 

Since Nathan wasn't here for Thanksgiving, the kids want to do this all over again on Christmas!
-And we all hope Joy wants to 'redo' that pie! : )