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

March 28, 2014

Minus kids and then multiplying them = fun

Tonight, all of our kids will be away at retreats!!!
And if we weren't in the middle of our care-giving turn, Hubby and I would totally be trying to take advantage of this situation and make a romantic get-away happen. : )  But, we'll just have to settle for going out to dinner and maybe a movie. We want to see God is not Dead.

The girls' retreat is at a lovely Mennonite campground hubby used to take our kids tent-camping at when they were little.(until they raised the prices so much you could pay for a cheap hotel room instead)
It has a snack bar and game room, in case you get to missing civilization. The girls will be staying in the dorm rooms and they have a massive human Foosball set up that they will get to play. -I don't think I'd want to be strapped to something with a ball flying at me, but I'm old. : ) It will probably be tons of wet and muddy fun, because it is going to rain here all weekend!

The boys' retreat was being held at another campground in TENTS, bless their hearts. (and from the sound of things, these suburban boys weren't jumping at the chance to pay money to sleep in a tent in the great outdoors) But due to all the impending rain, their event has now become a lock-in at the church building (where no sleeping will take place anyway)
 Our oldest is going to help and he's seriously not sure how they are going to entertain 50 boys in one building for 25 hours!
(that sentence makes me a wee bit glad that I am not in the youth ministry at present! -LOL)

Sunday, after church the youth band members have invited themselves over to write music and jam at our house. How cute is that?! I have a feeling they are going to be REALLY tired though and might prefer a Sunday nap.
Should be tons of fun. Love having a houseful of teens.

Have a happy weekend!

March 26, 2014

Wednesdays in the Word

What the Red Sea Means for Us

Pharaoh let the Israelites go on the 430th year anniversary (to the day) of their being in Egypt. -Only God could plan such an exodus and make it that timely! Ex. 12:41

I love that "the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night." In other words, He gave them light so that they would be able to travel around the clock!

The Israelites may have left in a hurry but they weren't fleeing in fear. "The children of Israel went out with boldness." Ex. 14:8

Then Pharoah decides to pursue them with "all the chariots of Egypt." v.7 We know that he had more than 600 but it doesn't say how many more.

"When Pharoah (and his army with chariots) drew near" the Israelites FREAKED OUT and for good reason. There was a sea in front of them and an army behind them.

HERE is some good advice in every situation:

"Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord..." v. 13
"The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace." v. 14  -In other words, 'Be quiet.' : )
(may I remember that last part)

They had to decide whether to turn and fight or move forward toward the sea and trust in God. And God said "Tell the children of Israel to move forward." v. 15 (so I'm pretty sure no one gave any thought to the turn and fight option)

MY FAVORITE part comes next. The Angel of God moves positions!
"The Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them;"
So literally, God had their back! : )

The cloud stood between the Israelites and the Egyptians. And it served two different purposes. To the Egyptians it "was a cloud and darkness" and to Israel "it gave light."
It was also an awesome divider "so that the one did not come near the other all that night."

That was very helpful while all through the night an east wind blew "and made the sea into dry land and the waters were divided." And since Israel had the illumination of their side of the cloud, they got moving during the night through the 'dry' part of the sea. I never realized this took place at night before! But I haven't watched Charlton Heston part it in years. ; )

The Egyptians raced in after them as soon as they could see and then "Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and when morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth while the Egyptians were fleeing into it." v. 27
"So the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. Not so much as one of them remained." v. 28
"Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore." v. 30
"Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt. So the people feared the Lord and believed the Lord..."(love that part) v. 31

Dear Friends,
All of that to say, remember that we are just as protected! Whatever the 'army' is that is coming against our lives and whatever the impossible situation of the 'sea' that may be looming in the distance,
know that the same God protects us.
And He doesn't have to move positions anymore.
He's got us on ALL SIDES!

"The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him and He delivers them. 
Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him." 
Psalm 34:7-9

"If God is for us, who can be against us?" Rom. 8:31 : )


March 24, 2014

All things starting with 'F' and the best cookies ever

I think a by-product of serving in various youth ministries for so long, is that when I think of an 'event' I have to give it a catchy name. : ) Or maybe 'corny' is a better description.
My latest kick is "Fajita Fridays!"
 It is a family night and our kids are welcome to invite friends to dinner and I make lots and lots of fatijas and we play Farkle and then build a fire. 
See all those "F's?" : ) 
Aren't they fabulous?! 

This past Friday, was Fajita Friday! 

Joy and her friend made these Reeses stuffed cookies, thanks to Pinterest. 
I've decided they need a new name that starts with and 'F' because I want them to ALWAYS be apart of Fajita Fridays. They are the best cookies ever!!!!!!! 
Peanut butter cookies stuffed with Reeses! Yes, please!
Then the girls watched Frozen (hey, another 'F') and built a fire in the fire pit. In the meantime, Andrew came home from a worship band practice with 3 of his musician friends and they jammed, played video games and built another fire. 

We had 4 teens sleep over. I made the big mistake of referring to this night as a 'slumber party' and my boys teased me f-o-r-e-v-e-r and I never found out what I should call it. A sleep over? 

In the morning, I made chocolate chip pancakes for all. Then Joy and her friend went to a girl's conference put on by A Passion for Jesus, which they really enjoyed. In the meantime, Hubby, who loves an excuse to go to the music store, took the 4 musicians to Guitar Center, which made their day. Later that day, Hubby and Andrew picked up his brother from the airport and we started our latest adventure in care-giving. 

Sunday, Hubby taught Sunday School and we went to the service and then came home completely exhausted. We didn't make it back to the evening service. We had a waffle night at home and got back into the care-giving groove of things. And went to bed early! 

And that sums up our fun weekend! 


March 20, 2014

All the latest

Favorite phone call:  Our son in CA calling to say that he is buying a plane ticket to come and see us in June for 11 days -Hooray!

Joy was asked to try out for vocals in the youth worship band and she made it. She sang Light of the World, which may have made her dad choke up because it is a song she learned while singing in the 'family band' years ago. Yay!

We bought a sweater stone and it really works!
Hooray for sweaters that look like new again! But what a mess. Those 'pills' have to go somewhere. (or everywhere!)

We are starting our next care-giving adventure on Saturday. My hubby's brother will fly in from CA and stay for about 4 months.
(he suffered a stroke while skiing when he was 50 years old and we take turns caring for him with another brother) So, we've been slowing gearing up for this by carrying things down from the attic and making things safe in our yard this week. And today was Get Ready for Uncle Phil day. -It involves cleaning and moving furniture and making our family room into a bedroom for Joy, who gives her room to him when he's here. I'm happy to say we've got the process down to 3 hours! I'm so exhausted.
Thank you, Subway for making us dinner, because I just didn't have it in me. : )

Friday night, before care-giving begins, we are having a bunch of teens over. -One big 'hurrah' before life has to be low key and quiet after 7:30 PM. -If things go well, we will still have 'quiet hurrahs.' : )
But we'll have to see how things go. Sometimes dealing with brain damage is not a big deal and other times it is all we can handle. But God is faithful in the hard times.


March 19, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

What Should I Wear? 
(that question gets asked a lot around here with teenagers) : )

"Clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 13:14

"Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
Col. 3:12

"Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another."
1 Peter 5:5

"You have been clothed with power from on high."
Luke 24:49

"Put on righteousness, let justice be your robe and turban."
Job 29:14

"Be clothed with the garment of salvation and arrayed in a robe of righteousness."
Is. 61:10

-Talk about being 'dressed for success!' : )


March 17, 2014

Spring breaking

So, we picked up Andrew's best friend at the airport on Monday and started our spring break fun!
He's a sweetheart and we are so glad to have him here. -And who wouldn't enjoy cooking for someone who thinks you are a 'Culinary Goddess.' LOL 

Tuesday, was Bowling and Laser Tag Day. The kids were so loving their bowling shoes and wanted to keep them. -That's got to be a first! And apparently bowling is more fun if you don't use your real names.

Wednesday, they wanted to go roller skating. We burned some calories that day!

Thursday we went strawberry picking. We, girls, did most of the picking because the boys were suddenly inspired to make a funny video with footage from the field.

Friday was Frisbee Golf Day and a picnic in the park. They also did more filming of their movie. I think I've sufficiently worn them out because we are all excited about relaxing tonight.

 We planned to throw these old fashioned planes of the dunes at the park but they were a big fail. : (

Saturday, we fit in some yard work and then headed to the BEACH. (the boys least favorite place) But we added a historic military fort with cannons and ammo cells from the 1800's and since there were Slurpees involved, they were all in. ; )
The beach was beautiful and the weather was perfect. We, Floridians, thought the water was too cold but it was warmer than the Pacific, so Joel jumped in. : )

By Sunday, a week's worth of fun and very little sleep, caught up with the boys. Andrew had a 100 degree temperature and missed both church services.

Today, I got the gang up early (as in 'early' spring break time) and caught the red mulch sale at Home Depot,  (10 bags for $10) Yahoo! and then we headed to the movies. They wanted to see the Peabody movie, which brought back memories and was pretty cute. Then it was off to the airport. The flight was delayed so we had a good long visit. Then came a challenging ride home as the van started freaking out. -I guess, if you are going to have car trouble, you can't beat having them AFTER spring break.

I may need a break from my 'break' though. : )

March 12, 2014


Recently, my hubby was nominated to become a deacon at our church, which is such an honor.
Tonight the church voted and....
He's a deacon!!!!
They picked a good man!
He loves Jesus and the local church more than anyone I know.
Proud of him!


'Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. But let these also first be tested, then let em serve as deacons, being blameless. Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanders, temperate, faithful in all things. Let deacons be the husband of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For those who have served as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.' 1 Tim. 3:8-13

Wednesdays in the Word

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ 
and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit 
be with you all. Amen" 

2 Cor. 13:14


March 11, 2014

Attacking attics and so on

So, for some reason that neither of us could really remember, we determined to put a date on the calendar and make it Clean out the Attic Day. It was getting pretty full after 19 + years. (and in Florida, we don't have basements and our house doesn't have a garage, so Hello Attic, we love to put things in you!)
We paid our youngest kiddos for their help which we don't normally do on  "A Family Work Day", but we made an exception for this because we figured we'd be spending all morning and a little bit of a beautiful Saturday afternoon in an attic...  Blah!

OH MY STARS, it took NINE hours.
We took every single thing out of it and then went through it all, and then took what we were keeping back up there, in an organized fashion. And in the process filled one trash can, one recycling can and have 11 contractor bags full of trash. Wow!
It was all very overwhelming.

Here is what I learned:

1. It isn't as rewarding as you think it will be when you are done, because you can't SEE the attic unless you climb up the ladder and go inside. : ) (which I was too tired to do after all that!!!!)

2. It wasn't necessary to save every cute outfit my kids wore as a babies. I've narrowed it down to about six. (I know I'm hopeless!) : )

3. Dolls! If I had to do it over, I would have let Joy play with the beautiful dolls she was given instead of keeping them in a box until she was 'older.' I think the doll window was a short one for her especially with two older brothers that she wanted to keep up with. And if you miss that window, then you have a pretty doll in a box and a girl who remembers that doll as "The Doll You Never Let Me Play With." Ouch! -Sorry, Joy. Sorry 'Jo' doll from Little Women. And maybe, just maybe a decorative doll isn't the best gift for a one year old. ; )
I did save two of her first dolls that she played with a lot! One was a cute little hand held one that she played with when she was a baby and the other was a big baby doll that looked so life-like people mistook it for baby Andrew. LOL  It was fun to see those dolls but they were sooo loved on that they were rather scary looking and we got a big laugh out of that. Think horror movie-ish. ; )

4. Plastic boxes, you are my friend. Some sweet sentimental things were destroyed that were packed away in trunks.

5. Computers! Apparently we have had a bunch! One of our boys sooo wanted us to keep our first Mac but the Attic Police said 'no' and had us take a picture of it instead. ; ) We now have 6 hard drives in a box instead of 6 CPUs. That's an improvement, right?

 6. Maybe I didn't need to save all the love letters that hubby and I wrote each other before we got married  because when are we EVER going to have a bunch of free HOURS upon HOURS to read those? Or want to? Well, who knows! But those did make it back in the attic. Shhh! ; )


March 6, 2014

An egg-cellent week

So, it is that time of year again and our family just finished filling two thousand Easter eggs for a community outreach that our church will be holding.
Fun, fun, fun, -until you pinch your skin in a closed egg. LOL   Am I the only one who does that?!
Over the weekend we all filled eggs while watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 and got more than halfway done. (thanks Zac and Tiff for doing about a million of those two thousand!)  ; )

Then yesterday, I had Andrew do some awesome multitasking. -He had to fill eggs while listening to the autobiography of Frederick Douglas for school. -Homeschooling and community service all at once!

Joy baked 95 goodies for a fundraiser over the weekend and it was a long process. She was exhausted and grumpy and still had lemon bars in the oven at 10:30 PM and she had to be up at 5:30 the next day for the sale. Bless her heart!
 Hubby took her to the fundraiser at 6:00 AM the next morning and when I got up I saw this on the table:

How cute is a dad who cuts lemon bars for you using a yard stick?! : ) He said he made sure each one was exactly 3" x 2". Too cute!

This Saturday is Clean the Attic Day, heaven help us. Hopefully it will still be cool out otherwise we may sweat to death.

And Monday starts Spring Break, hooray! -Andrew's best friend is coming from CA to spend it us us. Joy and Andrew are egg-static about that. ; ) Should be fun!!!!


March 5, 2014

Wednesdays in the Word

I think these verses in 1 Samuel 12 are awesome and they remind me of parenting.
So, I'm addressing them to my kids today.

Dear Zachary, Nathan, Joy and Andrew:

"...Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you;
but I will teach you the good and right way. Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart,
for consider what great things He has done for you."  AMEN!

Love always,
Mom : )

March 4, 2014

More verses to pray

I love to pray scriptures over our kids and here are a few new ones I found today for praying that our kids behave wisely, from the life of David, because who doesn't want to behave wisely in every situation life throws at you. : )

"So David went out wherever Saul sent him and behaved wisely." 1 Sam.18:5

"And David behaved wisely in all his ways and the Lord was with him." v.14

"And so it was, whenever they went out, that David behaved more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name became highly esteemed." v.30

Love those! And here are some other examples of verses I like praying for our kids:

I pray for them to be "a faithful man (and woman) who fear God more than many." Nehemiah 7:2

Since they are all students, I pray God would "give them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom." Daniel 1:17

That they would share the gospel, "Those who are wise will shine like brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever." Daniel 12:3

I love this one in Daniel for their character:
"They could find no charge or fault because he was faithful, nor was there any error or fault found in him."

For our boys (who are musicians) that would be like David, who was "skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, man of (spiritual) war, prudent in speech, handsome in person, and who the Lord is with."

For our girly, that she would be like Mary and Esther: "highly favored," "blessed among women," "obtain favor in the sight of all who see her."

Praying for the Lord to be with them like he was with Joseph:
"The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man...the Lord was with him and the Lord made all he did prosper in his hand." Gen. 39:2-3

And like Timothy, that they would be "wise for salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ."

: ) Amen!