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

May 31, 2013

Grad weekend

The big day came and went and here are the details:
We stayed at the overflow hotel for our state's home school convention/graduation ceremony and it was a very good choice. Not crazy-crowded like the other one.
We went to downtown Disney and saw this

while Nate attended the mandatory 5 hour graduation practice. (pretty sure we had more fun) ; )
Then these two headed to the dinner and the dance

while we swam at the hotel and ate Captain Crunch for dessert.

In the morning, we got up and headed to the complimentary breakfast and then things started to unravel...
Suddenly, the grad only had a blue sock and a brown sock (no matches), a belt was missing for the guy who really has to have one, one of us thought they'd left their phone behind in the hotel and there was a little detail about all the parents of grads having an official wristband...that we knew nothing about. -I'm pretty sure that when the man guarding the parents section, looked into my stressed face, he concluded that I REALLY was the mother of a graduate and not just someone posing as one to get a good seat. Bahaha! For good measure, he  threatened to take our seats if they ran out of room. Although, I'm not sure how he planned to find us in the crowd of parents for 270 grads...
The ceremony was absolutely beautiful and so moving.
I loved the baby photos and the handwritten 'thank you' letters to parents from the grads they show before it starts. I loved the address which doubled as a Sunday morning sermon. One of my favorite things is that we get to hear about the accomplishments of each student and what they plan to do after graduation. Many students were graduating with their AA degrees already. A few were going into the Marines and the Air Force. Almost all of them were heading off to college somewhere. Then there were a few, whose plans included, 'Just going to trust Jesus for my future." Amen to that too!
One girl is studying to be a mortician, which took the crowd by surprise and many people (I'm sure by accident) said 'Ewww!!!!' while clapping.
It is a LONG ceremony, and we were so surprised that our youth pastor drove all that way, stayed for the whole thing even though it was on a Sunday morning! He's a sweetheart.

I'm rather partial to this picture!
And this one!

Two down and two to go!

 I got a big kick out of what Turner's parents wrote on their car:
 "The tassel was worth the hassle." LOL -Agreed!

We drove back to our city for a sit-down Chinese dinner, I mean lunch. And after driving for over an hour and half, we arrived and found a hand written sign on the door saying they were closed for the holiday weekend. Ugh! So it was off to the nearest Chili's instead with our friends, which did turn out to be dinner by that time.

We had a great time and we're so proud of our graduate!
This weekend we have two more graduations to attend for friends and a party to help throw.
Monday, our support group has their annual Achievement Night for all the grades and then we'll be done. Whew!
Hello summer vacation!!!!


May 29, 2013

Wednesdays in the Word

I love praying scriptures over our kids. There are certain verses that just stick out and make me want to pray what they are saying would be true in our children's lives. 
Here is one of many:
"Asa's heart was loyal to the Lord all his days." 

Then I got to thinking one day, that I don't remember Asa being on the 'good kings list' in the far reaches of my brain. Then I ran across a verse that said "but he didn't remove the high places" so, I started adding to my prayer that "our kids would be loyal to the Lord all their days and that they would not live in any compromising situations and would have the courage to change things around them that need changing." 
I'm so glad the story of Asa turned out to be in my Bible reading plan yesterday. 
So, how can a guy who:
"did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God" not be remembered as one of 'the good kings?' Here's what I found out:
He did not finish STRONG. : (

He did a lot of GREAT things in his life like:
"He removed alters of foreign gods and high places, broke down sacred pillars and cut down wooden images."
"He commanded Judah to seek the Lord."
He even removed his mom from being the Queen Mother because "she made an obscene image of Asherah."
And my favorite thing was, he trusted God when he went into battle with his 300,000 men against the ONE MILLION soldiers of Ethiopia. I didn't remember ever reading of Israel going against a million people before, and found out that this was the largest military campaign mentioned in the Bible.  
Here was Asa's awesome prayer before the battle: 
"Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power. Help us Lord our God for we rest on You and in Your name we go against his multitude." Awesome!
And God moved and it says "so the Lord struck the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah." 

Then God had the prophet Oded remind Asa of this awesome truth:
"The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded." (I love that!) 
Asa did take courage and 'he removed the abominable idols from the land of Judah and Benjamin' and he 'restored the alter of the Lord.' He gathered the people together for a day of consecration and sacrificed 700 bulls and 7,000 sheep and "they all entered into a covenant to seek the Lord of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul." Then came the sweet fulfillment of the prophecy of Oded:
"All Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him with all their soul and He was found by them and the Lord gave them rest all around."

With all that said, it is sad to see that Asa didn't end strong.
The same guy who TRUSTED GOD for help and won the greatest military victory ever, turns to the help of MAN for a much smaller battle. He made a treaty with BenHadad of Syria for help against Baasha King of Israel. Why did he turn to a man for help when he had the Living God and had seen His power and faithfulness? 
Then he makes this same mistake again...
"Asa became diseased in his feet and his malady was sever, yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians. So Asa rested with his fathers..." 

I guess these couple of things explain why he didn't make the 'good king' list. May we all remember the faithfulness of our God, no matter what comes against us and turn to Him for help. 
This beautiful verse that we all know, is in this story: 
"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him..." 
May we all have loyal hearts and finish strong.
(2 Chronicles 15-17)

May 28, 2013

Never a dull moment

We are back!
Graduation weekend was crazy,
fun, beautiful and stressful. : )
Unfortunately, we didn't get nearly as many pictures as we hoped to. Anyway, I'm still gathering them from 4 different cameras and then I'll post them soon.

At this moment, I'm baking my heart out. Baking is therapy and it is helping me forget that my house has become the mating grounds of termites after dark. UGH! How gross is that?! We thought we might have termites and then last night, out of the blue, there was a swarm of them in our kitchen. It was horrific.
Today, I've learned way more than I ever wanted to know about that swarm and the mating process! And I had to cancel a dinner party I was having with my 'birthday club' friends at my house. The boys were telling me not to cancel it and just make sure they leave before it gets dark out. LOL (not happening)
The ladies and I changed our plan to go out for coffee instead and so I'm still making them blackberry lemon cupcakes and trying to forget the swarm and the inevitable COST.
Lord have mercy! What else can I bake? ; )


May 24, 2013

Graduation time!

What a week!
There were tears.
There were a gazillion graduation errands to run.
There was some sweet reminiscing over baby photos of the graduate, pulled out to make into a slide show.
There was a senior dinner to attend. 
There was a party to throw for other grads in our fellowship.
There was homeschooling and end-of-the-year testing and stress...
There was a diploma that arrived in the mail. Oh happy day!
There are still ties to locate, 
packing to do,
a gown to iron, 
and a dog to deliver....
But then we will load up the car and head to Orlando and all the graduation festivities with the other 200+ home educated graduates in our state will begin! 
And so will begin the reflecting,
on the goodness of God to us over all these years.
And I'm sure there will be more tears.
 The thankful kind.


May 20, 2013

Graduations galore

Lots of high school graduations are happening around here!

So, Friday night when all the guys were gone, Joy and I got crafty

 with all these yummy things...

And we made graduation pops! : )

Don't you LOVE when something you see on Pinterest actually works!? : ) I wanted to throw a party just because they didn't melt in this FL heat and slide off the sticks.

These were for Zac's girlfriend's surprise party. We are planning to make them again for some more sweet graduates in our lives.
Here's the link if you want to give them a try for some graduates in your life.
-Note to self, don't use Hersheys with almonds. The nuts will make your hats bumpy and you will have to eat them. Oh rats! ; ) 

The sign behind these was a cute idea too. It said things like 'now that you've graduated it is time to Take 5 (with the candy bar taped in that spot) and 'Enjoy the summer and have Mounds of fun' etc... It was a huge poster and had about every kind of candy bar you can think of. Sooo creative!

Six more days until our second one graduates from high school...

May 16, 2013

Busiest Saturday...

in the history of my world. : )

Joy had her last softball game

and then a softball party in which we had to eat burgers and milkshakes at Steak and Shake. Poor us! ; )

Then we headed to another party we were invited to where our forever friends from Junior Bible Quiz were celebrating the end of their season and riding jet skis.

There was also another prom:

But since this guy didn't attend this girl's high school, he wasn't allowed to go. -Which explains why he didn't spend the big bucks to rent a tux.
They did go out to a nice dinner with this bunch of friends from church and then the two best friends in the middle went together.

Hubby and I missed the fun photo ops because we had free tickets and AMAZING seats to a Rays baseball game and were on a double date to see them play the Padres!
It was a nail biter and the BEST.GAME.EVER! So much fun.
Not to mention that it was '80's Night' at the ball park and there's no one better to hang out with at one of those than Carlos! ; ) We were all too tired to get  footloose and stay for the Kenny Loggins concert which probably proves we are getting old,
 but not as old as Kenny Loggins! ; ) 


May 15, 2013

Wednesdays in the Word

"If we never have headaches through rebuking our children, we shall have plenty of heartaches when they grew up." ~Charles Spurgeon

These verses remind me of parenting for some reason. I guess because there is a whole lot of sowing and some times even tears, or as Spurgeon called them 'liquid prayers' (I love that!) and then we start seeing our harvests.
Blessings to all you moms out there who are faithfully sowing!

"Those who sow in tears shall read in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing shall doubtless come again with REJOICING, bringing his SHEAVES with him." ~Psalm 126: 5-6 


May 13, 2013

My Mother's Day

I was blessed with a breakfast in bed of (burnt but yummy) cinnamon and sugar toast and hot chocolate along with and some serenading by a cute guy with a ukulele.
On Mother's Day each year, all of my kiddos sit with me at church. I love it. One of my favorite things. (except that I feel very short and heals would not even begin to help) LOL 
Then it was off to Sweet Tomatoes, which is one of my favorite restaurants.
Thankfully our day included a little time for rest and relaxation because it had been one big weekend.
While we were home, the kids showed me the video they made for me. It was pretty cute. They each took a turn on camera wishing me a Happy Mother's Day and thanking me for things that I do for them etc..
And since Joy wasn't home when the boys made the video, there's an unexpected clip of Andrew dressed up like JOY wishing me a Happy Mother's Day. It was hilarious!!!
-It did conclude a with an actual clip of the real Joy, filmed that very morning. : )  Too cute!

We ended the night with a picnic in the park listening to the Florida Orchestra. Here's the view at sunset with all the picnickers. The orchestra was under a tent near the old water tower.

 It was such a lovely evening! Beautiful weather and beautiful music!

 And my favorite people!
We will definitely attend another one of these!

May 10, 2013

The blahs and the blessings

It is a 'blah' day in my world,
quite literally speaking, because I have some kind of a stomach virus!
And it apparently isn't the 24 hour kind either. Ugh!

It is the kind of day that blessing counting needs to happen lest the 'blahs' swallow me up.

~Instead of thinking about all the Zip-lock bags that have become water balloons and my mixing bowl that headed out the door,
I'm thankful for a water fight among siblings who have the best of times together

~Instead of seeing the messes around the house that four healthy teenagers don't seem to notice or clean,
 I'm thankful for the flowers my hubby brought me that brighten any messes

~Instead of wondering what's for dinner,
I'm thankful for my amazing man, who saw the empty fridge and did the grocery shopping for us before going to work this morning, at an hour when I've never darkened the door of a supermarket

~Instead of freaking out that it sounds like my boys are crashing a wedding,
I'm thankful for the godly friends they choose to hang out with.

~Instead of getting frustrated that I'm in bed and not better yet,
I'm thankful for the sweet girl who wants to risk some germs and watch chick flicks with me

Hope your blahs turn into blessings too.


May 8, 2013

Wednesdays in the Word

I was struck with the simplicity of these verses and how much they sounded like a 'formula' for godly living to me (and I love formulas).

We live "in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation."
Who wants to "shine as lights in the world?" (me, raising my hand)
Who wants to be "blameless, innocent children of God without fault?" (me, raising both hands)
Here's how:
  "Do all things without complaining and arguing." (ouch!)
Philippians 2:14-15

: ) Blessings!

May 7, 2013

A Day of Prayer and Fasting for Pastor Saeed Abedini

Today is Pastor Saeed Abedini's 33rd birthday and 223rd day of imprisonment in Iran. Please join us in 

Latest news from the ACLJ here.

I'm praying:
 -for his supernatural healing. -As a result of the beatings he's endured, he's bleeding internally and has been denied medical treatment

 -for his strength. -He's been taken to solitary confinement in an effort to 'break him.'

-for his release. Even if it takes an Act 16 earthquake!

And I'm praying especially that "the things which happened have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel." Phil.1:12

Nothing is impossible for God. Please join in prayer for our brother in Christ today!

"Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and 
those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." Heb 13:3 

~Becky, whose believing God for miracles

May 6, 2013

Big night

The surprise picnic invitation to prom

sparkling apple cider and tiramisu

Note to self: teach my boys that forks go on the left. ; )

Getting ready with a little help from Dad:

Prom Moms get to take lots of pictures unless they need to do some emergency tag team hemming of the dress and then only a few

The corsage

           A slight fear of being impaled ; )   

The beautiful couple who makes us all proud:


May 1, 2013

Wednesdays in the Word

"The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty,
consequently we do not make our nests anywhere.
Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life;
gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life.

We are uncertain of our next step but we are certain of God.
To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways,
we do not know what a day my bring forth...
Immediately we abandon to God, and do the duty that lies nearest,
He packs our lives with surprises all the time...
We are not uncertain of God, but uncertain of what He is going to do next...
When we are rightly related to God,
 life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy." ~Oswald Chambers