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

May 25, 2015

Joy's Graduation Day!!!

This amazing day arrived!!! 

Way back when Zac graduated, he chose a royal blue cap and gown and I decided all the boys would wear it (because I am cheap frugal). But I promised Joy that she could choose a different color since she's the only girl in our 'school' and she chose gold! 

                               So, hubby and I decided to wear her 'school' color too. ; ) 

It was such a fun day! 

                                     With special friends from far

                                                               and near!


It was also not lost on me how amazing it was for my hubby to be there. Not that he might not have lived to be there, but that he was up for all the traveling, standing, and sitting was a huge blessing. If it had been any earlier in the year, we might have had to bring him in a wheelchair or not at all.
He looks pretty awesome, doesn't he?!

So grateful for this day and all who shared it with us. And for our precious graduate who always makes us so proud!

(more pictures of the weekend fun to come)

Home Educating mom of only one now!

May 22, 2015

Getting crafty

Over the weekend, I started making a book page wreath.
Here is the tutorial.

I happened to have a bunch of antique books that my neighbor gave me years ago so I used two of those, but you can use paperbacks from the dollar store. You brush some paint on the edges to make them look older and then start ripping them up. (that's a little hard to do if you LOVE books!)
 It turned into a fun project, minus the fact that I kept burning the skin off my finger tips with hot glue! : )

After rolling about a gazillion pages like this:

this happened:

 And I love it!


Edited to note: If you make one of these, people will try to read the words on the pages! Who knew? 

May 20, 2015

Wednesdays in the Word

This verse struck me the other day: "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." ~2 Tim 2:19
I heard a pastor recently define 'iniquity' as "an inward trespass" or a sin that other people don't see.
As Christ followers we need to take note:
We can't have hidden sins.
(obviously they aren't hidden from God, just other people)
The remedy is a Holy Ghost house cleaning of our souls! : )
"Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work." 2 Tim. 2:21
What more could we want? : )


May 19, 2015

End of the school year, a birthday and a graduation!

Andrew has his end of the year testing today. Hoping he does well! He always does!

Our sweet daughter-in-law (to-be) has a birthday today and we are celebrating on Friday night.
Happy Birthday Tiffany!

And on Sunday:
Joy is graduating from high school!!!!!! AHHHH!!!! 

I can't believe it! -I may accidentally wake her up for school next week just out of habit. ; ) 
We are so very proud of her. She plans to get a degree in ministry and become a Christian counselor. She has a passion to help hurting girls. Love her heart!

Instead of throwing a graduation party, making food, decorating, and making a video of her childhood set to music,  (I didn't really do that part, Nate made his own!)
ALL I have to do for this grad,
is take her and her 4 girlfriends to Orlando to for the 5 1/2 hour graduation practice on Saturday
(how can it take that long?!)
 and hang out at downtown Disney with her friends while we wait for her, then swim at our hotel, go out to dinner to celebrate and then go to the ceremony on Sunday!!! Hubby and the boys will get up early to travel and meet us there. -I think I got the REALLY good end of this deal for sure! : )

Also, our best friends from CA will be in town for one of their relative's graduations and they are going to attend Joy's ceremony and then spend some time with us next week! Super excited to see them again!

Nathan is in Washington DC all week getting paid to make a video for a Republican group! So excited for him! What an experience!
He wanted to surprise us and show up for Joy's graduation, but he wasn't able to miss any more school. Sweet of him to try!

Zac finished up his semester at ASU with all A's. Hooray!

There were times during this year of homeschooilng when I wished our kids left home for school because home was not very conducive for studying. Hubby was in so much pain during chemo and radiation. To say it was distracting, is an understatement. In fact, one of our kids still has about a month more of school left to do, because of all that didn't get accomplished during that time. But God is good and I'd be hard pressed to think of any other year when our family grew so much in areas that really matter. I would surely give my high-schoolers A's in: character, joy in the midst of pain, FAITH, perseverance and patience. : )


May 15, 2015

As the bumper sticker says, "Cancer sucks"

My hubby had blood tests and a CAT scan today.
This meant that we were at the cancer hospital for 6 hours.
Having not been there in a couple of months, I forgot how emotionally draining it is to be there.
Because it isn't just dealing with what you hope the outcome for your loved one's tests are, but it is also hearing what is going on in the lives of all those around.
Y'all, it can be depressing in a hurry.

A woman next to me survived having several brain tumors and now has stage 4 lung cancer.
The woman across from her, had colon cancer and has an 86% chance that it will never come back but has decided to do chemo so that the percentage will be higher. (I felt like saying 'don't do it!')
We heard a man in the hallway saying that the person he was with had esophageal cancer that was spreading but it wasn't in the liver. He was very excited.
We shared a table with a colon cancer survivor, who was having his 6 month check up.
A woman asked which one of us had cancer. (I told Hubby he must be looking A LOT better then!)
She has severe acid reflux and wanted to hear all about how that caused Hubby to get esophageal cancer. (his was latent unlike hers) Hubby encouraged her to 'keep on top of it.' She seemed to feel very impacted by the conversation and said she was sure they had not met by accident.
Then when we got home, we found out that a dear, young friend's mom has cancer and another dear friend of ours was being tested for it today. : (
It was a lot to take in.

Hubby's tests all came back clear and that all is well!!!
I highly doubt that the surgeon is a Christ-follower, but he preached us a great sermon today, anyway and it could have been right out of Matthew 6. ("Therefore, do not worry about your life...")
You see there was one little thing the tests showed that MIGHT be cause for concern in the future or it might be nothing at all. And this dear man told us that we should never give it another thought. Not EVER.
Because there is NOT one thing that worrying can do to help or change the situation. 'It is what it is.'
It was like God was speaking through him (minus the expletives he used for emphasis- LOL) to remind us of this truth.

All the kids were home when we got back, which is a rare thing these days. We did some 'going down memory lane' about this cancer journey and then we did some celebrating. It feels like we really do have our lives back now.

Praying that God be very near to the hurting that we crossed paths with today.

May 13, 2015

Wednesdays in the Word

Last week, I decided that 1 Timothy 1:15 is one of my favorite verses, in fact I want to find a Christmas card that has it printed out in a great big font next to a manager scene!

"Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners,"

Oh, how I love that truth!

In the Greek, 'sinners' is a word denoting "a traveler leaving the familiar road and taking twisted paths that cause him to loose his way." This great word picture reminds me of the life of Zacchaeus in Luke 19.
He was a Jewish man who worked for the occupying government of Rome, exacting taxes from his people. I imagine he was viewed as a traitor and a thief. Tax collectors surely weren't known for being honest. When repentant tax collectors came to John the Baptist and were baptized by him they asked him how they should go about living this new life and he told them to "Collect no more than what you have been ordered to." (Luke 3:13)

Here is our intro to Zac:
 "There was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was..."
How beautiful is that!?
Anyone who seeks out the Lord is going to find Him. It is a promise! -"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13
 (another one of my favorite verses)

Of course, there were crowds all around Jesus and that made it difficult for a guy who was, "short of stature." But he was a resourceful fellow and "he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him for He was going to pass that way."
Then Jesus "looked up and saw him and said 'Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house."' The fact that Jesus wants him to hurry down, makes me think he climbed up pretty high. I wonder if the twisted branches of that tree didn't rather symbolize the path his life had taken...

Verse six says that he hurried down and received the Lord 'joyfully!' How could anyone not? : )

When the religious folks saw all this, they complained about Jesus saying "He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner."
(i.e -a traveler leaving the familiar road and taking twisted paths that cause him to loose his way)
Of course, He did!
Who else would He rather reveal Himself to!

The presence of the Lord had a life changing effect on Zacchaeus. He decided he wanted to give "HALF of his goods to the poor."  And he repents of the past by saying "if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore FOURfold." Now, that is a change of heart! (The law of Moses said to make restitution by paying only 1/5 more of what you've taken)

Then Jesus proclaimed that salvation had come to his house that day and that he 'also is a son of Abraham.' He'd been a physical son of Abraham all along, but now he was a spiritual one and a partaker in the blessings of Abraham. The word salvation means deliverance, soundness, prosperity, happiness and rescue!
Zacchaeus was gloriously rescued that day from the 'twisted path that caused him to loose his way.' And Jesus declares that beautiful truth the He came "to seek and save that which was lost." Luke 19:10
"Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners." 1Tim.1:15

This makes me want to break out into a chorus of "I was once lost but now I'm found..."


May 6, 2015

Wednesdays in the Word

I'm reading Beth Moore's book Jesus: The One and Only, and I thought this excerpt from her book was too good not to share:

"I love the practice of daily coming to the line with Christ 
and naming my sins. I don't practice a 
"Lord forgive me for all my sins." 
I don't see true Biblical repentance in that. 
Repentance assumes we are naming the sin to acknowledge
it. Then I like to discuss with God why it doesn't agree
 with His word. Why the sin isn't what He wants for me. 
That kind of repentance begins to get those precepts
 down into my soul. I love Acts 3:19: 'Repent, then,
and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out,
that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.' 
 Now daily confession is like refreshment to our souls.
 We come away from repentance cleansed. 
Ready to be filled. Ready to walk in the Spirit." 

May 5, 2015

Peach pie making day

Who knew peaches even grow in Florida?
But, thanks to my homeschooling friends on Facebook, I found out that there was peach orchard open for u-picking and since we missed picking strawberries this year, we had to do it! : )

We took a break from school and hit the road. The weather was perfect and the orchard was gorgeous!

And it totally beats strawberry picking because there is no need to bend over and it is SHADY!

-Andrew enjoyed the picking, just not all the picture TAKING. ; )

We had the best time!

which is what I will have to remember about this event BECAUSE the owner of the orchard told us to leave the peaches on the counter for a few days to let them ripen...
And guess what happens to peaches left for 3 days on the counter???
They get moldy! Boo-hoo!
So, after all that, we've only got enough for a few smoothies and ONE pie.
Oh well!

A least a great time was had by all!

EDITED TO NOTE:  Speaking of that peach pie, we are going to CELEBRATE that Hubby is off  any and all pain medication now! 
Whoo-hoo! He isn't by any means pain free, but he is finally really feeling strength return to his body! Now that is something to celebrate! PTL!