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

April 30, 2014

Wednesdays in the Word

I read these prayers of David Livingstone, the missionary to Africa, recently and loved them:

"Lord, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever any ties but the ties that bind me to your service and to your heart." 

"My Jesus, my King, my life, my all, I again consecrate my life to You. I shall place no value in anything I possess, except as it relates to Your kingdom and to your service."


April 29, 2014

Pictures from CA trip!

Our son loves photography and has a fabulous camera, so when I went to visit in February, I didn't even bother to bring my dinosaur of a camera. (it only works half the time anyway!) : )

He recently had a chance to send me some of the beautiful photos he took when I was there and I love them so!

Unfortunately, his camera is so complicated, he can't really pass it to someone and get in any of the shots! : (

Thank you, Nate!
I love them!

April 28, 2014

That time when I got in a fight with my Kitchen Aid and lost!

Oh.My.Stars. The craziest thing happened to me when I was making mashed potatoes for Andrew's "southern" birthday dinner. The wire whisk attachment broke and a couple of the newly unattached metal spokes were somehow hitting me on both arms and in the neck and as I leaned in to turn it off, I accidentally turned the speed up higher and got hit some more. I screamed and hot potatoes were flying all over the kitchen. When I finally got it shut off, my arms had marks from being "whisked" and I had mashed potatoes in my hair! -If it wasn't so painful, it would have been hilarious!

Despite all that, we had a wonderful time celebrating Andrew.

Hubby gave a speech and reminded us all that Andrew's name means "manly" and "courageous warrior."
We prayed for him to continue to be those things, then we ate too much and played some games. -There's one game we probably will not ever play again. But we will probably remember the shark fisherman in the middle of a thunderstorm, among other things...

Concentrating on one of the games and wishing Mom was not taking his picture. : )
Andrew (or Andy, as all his friends call him now) is such a blessing to us. He is a very compassionate young man and always seems to be looking for ways to help me. If it is true that young men grow up to treat their wives the way they treated their mothers, than his future wife is going to be VERY blessed!!! He's a sweetheart and also hilarious, as in, makes-you-spit-out-your-drink, kind of funny! : ) 
And we are so thankful for him!

Here he is at 7:00 AM
-Our poor kids, have to sing and be sung to on their birthdays when they aren't quite awake! And eat a chocolate chip pancake shaped like a bear, no matter how old they are. ; )
 Unless we are out of chocolate chips and then we have to give M&M's a try. LOL


April 25, 2014

Books, graduations and a birthday

We had a very nice Easter. I was so happy that Nathan was able to go to San Diego and spend it with my parents!

 I made this odd but yummy dessert because a traditional Easter dinner seems to include some form of Jello. ; )  After our Easter feast, we rested and watched old religious movies they air on TV at Easter-time. But since we were serving in some areas at church that morning and had to be there at 7:15 AM I was all good with being a couch potato. : )
 Have you ever seen the 1955 movie called A Man Called Peter? It is the story of Peter Marshall's life. Since I recently read the book, (by the same title)  I was so excited to see the movie. It is a really sweet story of how God took him from being an Irish immigrant to being the chaplain to the US Senate.

I am reading Ravi Zacharius' autobiography called Walking from East to West: God in the Shadows. It is awesome! Such a powerful testimony of the way 'God wove all the threads of his life together into the beautiful tapestry' of his life. A really remarkable life. I highly recommend it. He used to be on the radio at the same time as we were driving to church on Sundays, so we listened to him a lot when our kids were young and now Nathan has been able to go and hear him speak twice since he's moved. If you question the existence of God, try reading any of his books.

We are celebrating Andrew's 15th birthday this weekend! His birthday dinner menu has an unhealthy Southern theme to it. He's asked for fried chicken, biscuits with sausage gravy, mashed potatoes, BACON, and coleslaw. It is a fusion of all the things this picky eater likes! (I will be buying the fried chicken though, because I've never become southern enough to try making my own) : )

Next week, Zac will be graduating with his AA in business, which he says is no big deal. (but being in Phi Theta Kappa for his grades is!) Next stop USF! His girlfriend is graduating from cosmetology school and both their ceremonies are on the same day and at about the same time. -Such a crazy coincidence! They won't be able to attend each other's graduations, so I'm going to throw a little brunch here afterward for both of our families to do a little celebrating. And Pinterest is helping me out with some cute brunch recipe ideas!

Hope you have a blessed weekend!

April 23, 2014

Wednesdays in the Word

Hospitality- receiving or treating guests and strangers warmly and generously 

I read a book recently that had a chapter on hospitality and it said that we need to take the greeting of our guests seriously. It said "The threshold is the place or point of beginning" and that "A home is someone's intimate space, and it's just natural to feel like you don't belong."
"Making people feel as if they do belong within the first few seconds is critical."
I'd never really thought about that before but I sure can attest to the need for it, having been invited to someone's home and then having not felt at all welcome. Have you ever been in that situation? It is oh-so-awkward. (and I'm sure, unintentional)

Jesus was in this situation once only it wasn't unintentional. He was invited to Simon's house and Simon neglected to show Jesus the common courtesy due a guest in that culture.
He didn't offer Him water to wash the dust (and possibly dung) off his feet from the unpaved roads.
He didn't give him a proper greeting, which was a kiss. (I love that about the Latin culture around us)
Nor did he give Jesus anointing oil for his head. (which I'm guessing was probably a must in a deodorant-less society) ; )
 (Luke 7:44-47)

Hachnasat Orchim is a Hebrew concept/custom for "welcoming guests like welcoming God."
How beautiful is that?

Here are some hospitality tips that I enjoyed reading:
Open the door for your guests before they arrive. -Don't leave them waiting uncomfortably at your door for you to answer it.
Walk them all the way in and introduce them to people. -Make sure they are involved in conversations with others before leaving them.
"Pepper people with questions about their life."
Use place cards to show people they were thought of before they arrived.

"Like Peter, people don't feel like they deserve extravagant blessing. This is the power of your home. Every time you stoop down to wash the feet of the wandering souls who enter your home, it reflects the central story of God's love for people." (I love that)

"He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days." Acts 28:7

"Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings." Rom. 16:23

"Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Rom. 12:13

"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." Heb. 13:2

"We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth." 3 John 8

Hoping to be more hospitable in the future,
(tips and quotes taken from Hugh Halter's book: Flesh)

April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

The annual Easter pose!

And since this our first Easter after Nathan moved to CA,

 I had to add him to a picture. 

(even though our kids said this made him look dead) 


April 19, 2014

The Best Friday

Yesterday, Hubby had the day off for Good Friday and we had a breakfast date. Then we did a little shopping at the mall and bought his yearly pair of work boots.
When Zac got off work, we decided to do something fun with the fam. (actually 1/2 the fam) : )
We went to this place downtown, that we'd been hearing about, which is an English bookstore, gift shop, and coffee house all in one. Zac described it as walking into a scene from Downton Abbey, so of course, I was all in! : )
The parking was across the street and when we got out of the car, it wasn't even sprinkling. Then we took a few steps and it started to sprinkle and then we took a few more steps and we were officially caught between two places in an absolute downpour. It was raining sideways and all my umbrella did was keep my hair dry. (isn't Floridian weather fun?)

We arrived at this quaint place totally drenched!

But thankfully, they had hot drinks!

We had a great time drinking, talking and shopping.

We kept thinking of C.S. Lewis and Hubby asked if they sold pipes. lol

We can't wait to bring Nathan here when he comes home for a week in June.

I found a candle that smelled like the home my hubby grew up in, in Colorado. It sounds weird, but this mix of scents smells like everything we remember and LOVE about Colorado. It brought a rush of memories back to all of us. (and if it wasn't $55 I would have bought it) 

We wanted to go to a chocolate factory next (can you tell I planned this day?) but we were out of time.
 We headed home to change and then went to the Good Friday service at our church. 
It was an incredibly moving time remembering the death of our Savior. The best part was that a bunch of people made Him their Savior that very night as well!!!!

Then we headed home to eat the first BBQ brisket I've ever made, and jalapeno coleslaw and macaroni salad. 

Great memories made on this great Friday! Thanks for the pictures, Joy!

April 16, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

This is one of my favorite verses and one I want to apply to my life every time I read it. And in a world of sarcasm and come backs, I think these words would still make people take notice.

 "And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” ~Luke 4:22

Praying that "gracious words" would be the only kind that come out of my mouth.

April 14, 2014

Our artist

Our daughter has been making some paintings for her friends. And as always, we are just in awe of her gift! How cute are the princesses from Frozen?!

~Proud Mom!

April 11, 2014

This and that

 I've been planting marigolds because nothing says spring like some bright yellow in your front yard,
and I've been raking never-ending piles of leaves because we have oak trees.

I've been on the quest to find a cute Easter dress for our 17 year old who hates to shop (how can that be?!) : ) And who sings in the front row of the choir. The choir has certain WONDERFUL rules of modesty for an outfit that need to be followed, which have been the same as our own personal rules of modesty, but were recently tweaked and made a wee bit more strict. All that to say, that it takes some doing to find something in the budget that meets the standards and I feel like I have shopped till I've almost dropped.

Our youngest teen had his annual testing this week, which means we were cramming in things we don't normally study like, say, longitude and latitude! And I could be heard saying, "I don't know, google it" more than once. ; )  He's in Algebra 2 but was rusty on the basic normal math that would be on the test so then I went into Homeschool Mom Panic mode!!! But the Internet saved the day with an awesome website that reviewed everything for his grade and corrected his problems on the spot and taught him the ones he'd forgotten how to do. (it's called IXL.com if your kiddos are ever in need of review) (not a paid ad, just a thankful momma!) The best part is, he said he ACED his test! : )

My brother-in-law is still healing from his sprained ankle, so care-giving has been a little more complicated this week.

We are going to a fund raiser tonight to support this ministry in their fight against human trafficking! It is a four course meal in someone's home and we've been asked  to wear our "finest black and white." I was totally stressing over what to wear for DAYS as if the Easter Dress Quest of 2014 was not enough!!!! ; )  And then I finally, finally, remembered I own a black dress that I rarely have a reason to wear. Relief abounds!

Hope you all have a great weekend and have some gorgeous spring weather to enjoy where you are (and no reason to have to go clothes shopping. LOL!) 

April 8, 2014

A stomach, a back an ankle and an awning

What a day! -Friday, My hubby's brother had a small seizure while alone in our bathroom. He's never had one alone while staying at our house before. Andrew found him after he 'came to' and was crumpled up after a fall. A fall, in which he sprained his good (right) ankle, poor guy. It was rather traumatic for Andrew but he did an awesome job helping his uncle be calm and doing what he could to help him get up and yelling for help. 
At the same time, Zac had a stomach flu bug with a high fever and was more sick than he's every been in many years. Then my hubby called to say that it felt like his back was about to go out. (6 and half months of no back trouble til now though PTL!) So, THAT was a lot all at once! 

Saturday, we were icing and elevating an ankle and then going outside to try to hang an awning that we were given. It took all 5 of us to hang it and all morning to do it. I found out that even though I use some cute (little) weights while on the treadmill, I still can't hold up something above my head for more than a minute or two, which happened to feel like 5 hours. : )  I may have been kicked off the "awning team" except the fam was rather desperate for all hands on deck. Poor Zac, only just got over his fever, before we had him out there holding up an end of it. LOL  
It is now firmly screwed into the wall and it fits perfectly over our sliding glass door and is a nice hunter green color. And did I mention FREE! Yay! The morning sun hits that side of the house and you could fry an egg on that sliding glass door in the summer. -Hello savings on our electric bill!

After the awning, the chiropractor, lots of other errands and care-giving situations we were able to get a way for a little date. We ate some fabulous BBQ. Why do BBQ places have such uncomfortable seating though?Hubby's recovering back wasn't too fond of the indoor wooden picnic benches. 

So, the BIL is healing, Zac is almost better, and the chiropractor helped the Hubby.  Whew!

We are expecting a huge storm today. Here's hoping we did a good job hanging that awning. : )


April 4, 2014


We've been speaking, believing and praying that this will be the
 and so far it has been. Hooray! God has been at work changing ALL of us
 (maybe me the most) and things are going really well.
Here's how I feel about it:

"For He who is mighty has done great things for me.
 And holy is His name." ~Luke 1:49

Yesterday was significant because it was the culmination of lots of paperwork, (that got lost between care-giving homes) more of that same paperwork, waiting on the doctor's signature and one interview downtown with an employee of the transit system of our city.
 (where they made sure that my brother-in-law is not faking his need for a special bus service for the disabled as apparently some people do)
All that to say, yesterday my BIL ordered a ride (all on his own) and the bus came to our house and picked him up and took him downtown to his chiropractor appointment!
It was really pretty exciting.
(we took pictures)
He was thrilled about the whole thing, naturally, because it means a new level of independence for him during his stays with us! He's been doing this during his stays in CA for a long time and he has a stroke support group out there and they do things together.

I was on stand-by, to pick him up if something in the plan went wrong. They have a one-hour window of time when they will come and pick you up from your home and a one-hour window when they will pick you up from your destination. (and they give you 5 minutes to board before they will drive away) I was afraid he might not see them pull up while inside the chiropractors office, but it all worked out quiet smoothly and he made it home just fine and very happy.


April 2, 2014

Wednesdays in the Word

I can't say I've never had an attitude with God over various circumstances, but here are some things I hope to remember in the future:

He loves me too much to leave me the way I am:

 "God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness." Hebrews 12:10

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent." 

Rev. 3:19

Remember 'this too shall pass.'

"In all this thou greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." 1 Peter 1:6-7

Remember that not even my attitude can separate me from His love:  ; )

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love."


April 1, 2014

Happy be-on-the-lookout-for-pranks Day

Oh my stars, the pranks started early around here this morning, thanks to Joy!

(insert warning to her future husband that she LOVES and excels at April Fool's Day and he should plan to be on guard for the rest of his life!) : )

We saw this note on the kitchen wall before 6:00 AM.

And being that we live in Florida, this could mean a lizard, a roach or a spider...
I wasn't fully awake, and I was thinking of a mouse.
 (and freaking out!)

Hubby, moved the bowl and was ready to kill something
and found this:


And there's more!

Zac has a summer class that he needs to take for graduation and online registration started at 7:00 AM this morning. And there were ONLY TWO SPOTS LEFT in this class!!! Ahh!
He had to work at 6:00 AM! We planned  for me to log on and register for him right at exactly 7:00.
Except... guess who knew this and  decided to play a prank using the computer's mouse so that it would not work while I was logging in?!
 I turned it over and saw:
Then a certain, girl who was not awake,
had to get out of bed make it work FAST,
because I'm not techy enough to know that I just had to take the paper off to make it work. Not to mention I was about to panic!
She's a lucky sister, this April 1st,
because he got in the class! ; )

I was ready for April Fool's Day to end and it was only
7:02 AM!
Hoping that's it for today,
(or I might have to plan some pranks of my own)

P.S. -She doesn't get this from me! Literally, every.single.year. my sister and I would put sugar in the salt shaker. Even though we didn't use the salt shaker. LOL -We had no creativity! I guess our parents were lucky! : )