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

July 31, 2015

Five weeks was too long

Andrew's flight landed at 6:00 AM this morning! YAY!!!!
(insert happy mom dance here)

Joy and I made fun signs to hold up when he got off the plane and I planned to bring donuts along. But guess? Apparently, Krispy Kreme doesn't open until 6:00 AM and I was there at 5:00 AM!!! How lame is that?! ; )

the donut-less siblings ; )
I'm positively sure this was the first time I've ever left my house at 4:45 AM!

It might be a wee bit embarrassing to be one of our kids getting off a plane or waiting for one. ; )
Zac felt the need to pretend he didn't know us, once the sign holding began. LOL

But he told Andrew that getting up at 5:00 AM on his DAY OFF to be there was better than any sign. Agreed! : )

On mornings like this it is hard to be the only non-coffee drinker! -Everyone was sooo with it, except for me.

At baggage claim my kids informed me that my shirt was on inside out!
-Sooooo, maybe I need to rethink the lack of coffee consumption in my life! ; )

Soooooo glad to have my baby back!

And on Monday, Nathan is flying home and we get to do this all over again!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!


July 29, 2015

Wednesdays in the Word

I'm reading in first Samuel which is always fun because I love reading about Hannah and how she prayed for a son.
Then I always smile at the part where her husbands says "Aren't I better to you than 10 sons!?" LOL
And who doesn't love how sweet little Samuel thought that Eli was calling him during the night but it was really God?

But what struck me today was how the enemies of Israel seemed to have MORE honor and respect for God than His people did!
Israel was shocked that they lost a battle with the Philistines, so they decided to treat the presence of God like a good luck charm of sorts and brought the ark of the covenant into battle with them. They said "that when it comes among us, it may save us from the hand of our enemies." They completely forgot WHO the ark represented.
It amazed me that even though God's people had forgotten, the Philistines had not! When they saw the ark of the covenant, they cried out
"God has come into the camp! Woe to us!" Now, that is respect!
They brought up the fact that mighty wonders were done by God in Egypt when He sent the plagues and because of that they thought they were toast for sure. ; )
Maybe that honor is part of the reason that God gave them the victory that day instead!

But it really is no wonder that the people had lost their focus on God because they were under some pretty corrupt leadership.
-Hebrews 4:14 refers to Jesus as our Great High Priest. So, glad that He is the One who intercedes for us now! But back then the descendants of Aaron were the priests. Eli was the high priest at this time and his sons, Hophni and Phinehas served under him in the tabernacle.
1 Sam. 2:12 says "Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the Lord." ('know' meaning to fear or obey)

For one thing, and I'd say this is a big one, they "lay with women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle!" Ugh! And chapter 4 tells us that Phinehas was a married man!

Secondly, they were also guilty of letting their greed cause them to rob God and the people during their practices of worship which caused everyone to hate coming to the house of God. (I think that will preach)

The Bible geek in me had to study ALL about the offerings so I could understand this. I'll try to make it brief. The people came to the tabernacle with what were most likely, peace offerings. These were optional offerings being made as 'a vow, a confession or an offering of gratitude.' How beautiful is that?! A portion of these offerings were to go to God, the priests and the worshiper!
The fat was the Lord's portion and was burned up (Lev 3:16) for a sweet smelling aroma to Him. In Lev. 7:31 I learned that "the breast shall be Aaron's and his sons (priests) and also the right thigh you shall give the priest."

The Bible is very specific about how things went down when Eli's sons were in charge of the sacrifices. They took a "three pronged fleshhook" and while the meat was boiling "they thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or cauldron, or pot; and the priest would take for himself all that the fleshhook brought up." No breast or just a thigh for these guys!
It also hit me that the sizes of the animals they could sacrifice varied, so the containers they boiled them in, we see, varied. But that fleshhook didn't vary in size. Imagine how much meat you pull up when you 'thrust' that sucker in a 'kettle'? LOL Probably ALL the meat!
So, the worshiper was being robbed while making their sweet 'vow or confession or offering of gratitude.' How sad.
They also didn't have a problem robbing God. 1 Sam. 2:15 says that they stuck that fleshhook in "before they burned the fat." (which was God's portion) And if the people complained about that, then the servants of the priest would say 'we will take it by force.' v.16 (not very reverent priests)

Here's a sad verse;
"Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord."
Their corruption made people despise going to worship the Lord.

Was Eli an oblivious old man who was busy raising Samuel? No.
"Now Eli was very old and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel..." 1 Sam. 2:22
And Eli said to his sons "Why do you do such things? For I hear of all your evil dealing from all the people."
Eli, obviously worried for their souls, said:
"If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?"
Awesome question! Let's take moment to thank God for Jesus who solved that dilemma for us! Amen?
"For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus," 1 Tim.2:5 : )

Next it says "Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father."

Personally, I always thought that Eli was ONLY guilty of bad parenting, but we are about to see that that wasn't the case.

If all of Israel hated to come and worship and were complaining about these two priests why would a high priest put up with these two?
The first reason, was because they were related!!! (do we turn a blind eye on what the ones we love are really doing?)

God asked Eli two things.
 "Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place,
and honor your sons more than Me to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people."
Wait! What?
I always got my soul-searching on for ways in which I may be 'honoring my kids more than God' (ouch!) and never really finished that verse before. What a revelation!
It basically said that Eli knowingly made himself fat with the best of the offerings of the people.
So, he might have slapped their hand for it but was really all for it.
And this would explain why his sons "did not heed the voice of their father." Kids know! Telling them to "do as I say and not as I do" never works.

I know this sounds silly but it made me think he had a weakness for dark meat! LOL
As we read, the priests were suppose to be given was the breasts and a right thigh! But these priests' came up with a new 'custom' one differing from God's.
And oh, how many of our churchy 'customs' keep people farther from the Father instead of drawing them closer to Him?!

So, these guys were extracting WAY more than their God ordained amount. And that wasn't lost on God. He asked why they were making themselves fat with the best of the offerings! Eli's weight literally ended up being apart of his downfall.
"Eli fell off the seat backward by the side of the gate: and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy." 1 Sam.4:18
He honored his sons and his appetites more than he honored God. As a result of this, the people despised going to worship and lost sight of God causing His tangible presence on earth to be captured and taken by a people who didn't know him but honored Him more and remembered His mighty wonders.

Speaking of food, here's a little food for thought, brought to us by Eli:
How do we let our appetites rule us? Do we honor those appetites more than God and turn people off to worshiping Him? Do we let love for our family members come before honoring God?

This study has reminded me that it is lunchtime! ; )
Have a great week!


July 28, 2015

All the showers

There were showers of all kinds this weekend!
Especially the wet kind and even flooding! -I checked the weather, and there will be thunderstorms at the beach for the next 10 days. Boo hoo!

But those didn't keep people from attending other showers! There was a baby shower for a friend at church, who is having her very own Samuel. A child she has definitely prayed for. Yay, God! Such a fun celebration!

And there was a beautiful bridal shower for Tiffany given by her sweet bridesmaids at this really cute tea lounge. Emphasis on CUTE!

The food was fabulous!

And so many sweet friends and family members came
 and showered her with gifts!

Joy made this for counting down the days! It won't be long now!
Photo credits to Kaylee and Joy!

July 27, 2015

A really bad hair day

So, the other day I dropped Joy off at work, (actually she drove) and as she was getting out of the drivers seat, I was standing by it with the car door open, waiting to get in. Then I noticed that the window was down, so I pushed the button to roll it up
 my hair
 went up with the window!
It isn't even that long!
When I tried to move I was totally stuck!
Then I tried pushing the window button again but I pushed the wrong ones and both back windows came down!
Apparently, I was standing there with my arms out to Joy looking totally helpless which caused her to loose it! She was laughing SO hard her face was turning bright red!

Oh my stars! I think that counts as a really bad hair day!


July 25, 2015

One amazing man

A year ago today, we sat in Room 23 fully expecting to hear the word 'benign.' 
But instead, a grim faced oncologist came in and had to tell us that my hubby had stage 3 esophageal cancer.
My hubby took the news with all the peace and the joy of the Lord that he always exhibits in life! This reaction was probably not what the doctor was expecting. 
Apparently, he thought he must have misunderstood or something because he then repeated the diagnosis!
(trust me, you catch the 'C' word the first time it is mentioned!) 
Then the doctor said emphatically, "This is really serious!" 
(we knew that it was but isn't it wonderful that God is the one with the final say! Hallelujah!) 
The doctor told us our options etc... And then my hubby started ENCOURAGING the doctor! 
That is just who he is! Even in his darkest moment!
He told him how well he was doing his job and how much we appreciated all the useful information that he was sharing with us etc...
He is amazing! 
I'm soooo blessed that I get to do LIFE with him! 


July 22, 2015

Wednesdays in the Word

Oh, the practicality of the book of James! Gotta love it!

Here's the verses that stop me dead in my tracks every time I read them in James:
"But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. For where envy and self-seeking exist,
confusion and every evil thing are there." James 3:16

Have you ever experienced the feeling that confusion is reigning supreme and every evil thing has been let loose to wreck havoc in your home life? I have and it is awful.
And what makes it even worse is knowing you opened up that Pandora's box by being envious and or self-seeking...

I love what Beth Moore says about her "self stuff" as she calls it, in her book: Jesus the One and Only.
 "I ask God to help me address any active 'self stuff' and nail it to the cross. I literally name anything He brings to mind and look it straight in the face..." And she lists these examples:
"self exaltation,
self protection,
self righteousness,
self will,
self loathing,
self serving,
self promotion,
self indulgence,
self absorption,
self delusion,
self pity,
self sufficiency"

-Wow and ouch!

"The wisdom that comes from above" combats envy and self seeking!
And it makes a great prayer:
'Lord, make us "pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." ' James 3:17

May He give us all the victory over our 'self stuff' in Jesus' name.


July 21, 2015

The weddingS

It's wedding season!
And if a church can have a wedding season, then ours is in one!

What a fun blessing it has been to get to watch a group of young people, grow up in church together, start dating, graduate high school, go to college and then get engaged to one another! -I just don't think anyone expected it to be month after month. ; )
And now the showers and the weddings are upon us.

In just a couple of weeks, Zac's best friend (since the 5th grade) is getting married to Tiffany's best friend! Zac and Nathan are both in this wedding. Honestly, sometimes I get confused and think Andrew is in it too. LOL
Then three weeks after that, Zac and Tiffany are getting married! (and we are all in that one!) : )
So, our summer has been full of wedding errands.
Yesterday, Zac and Tiffany took me to Hobby Lobby for the first time ever!
 Oh my stars! I LOVE it!
-It's a very good thing for our checkbook that I don't live anywhere close to one! Hallelujah, amen!

Flowers, bow ties, boutonnieres, suits, bridesmaid dress, mother of the groom dress, alterations, shoes and don't get me started on dress shirts! Traditional fit, slim fit, straight fit...

If the rain ever stops long enough...

; )

July 17, 2015

This week

I'm missing Andrew like crazy but he's having a great time with Nate in California and they've been everywhere!!! LA, Sacramento, Carlsbad and Mammoth.

~I will just have to console myself with the facts that there is less laundry to do and our water bill has gone down significantly. LOL!!!! No joke! I have written proof now that he takes long showers! ; ) We all got a kick out of this!

Nathan made a video of their time in Carlsbad. Here. It was fun to see my brother and niece in the it.

And he made a gorgeous video of some hiking they did in Mammoth with a college group this week. Here.

Joy survived her first Cow Appreciation day  as a Chick-fil-A employee. : )

Hubby and I booked a location for the rehearsal dinner and took Zac and Tiffany there for dinner last night. She was born in Brooklyn, NY and so she chose to have it at a New York style deli/restaurant. It is really cute! It goes with their 'city' theme for the wedding. Two more months and counting!

Have a great weekend!


July 15, 2015

Wednesdays in the Word

I love the holy HOWEVERS in the Bible. They are the times of disappointment or seeming defeat that God turns around to work for good. And He's so good at that!

Let's take Samson for example:
Why he ever thought hanging out with a woman determined to bring about his downfall was a good idea, I'll never know. She kept trying to figure out the secret to his strength and then tried to extinguish it and hand him over to his enemies. Talk about flirting with danger! 
She finally succeeded and I think this is one of the saddest verses in the Bible: 
"He (Samson) did not know that the Lord had departed from him." : ( 
And then it gets worse: 
"The Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the the prison."

"HOWEVER, the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaven." : ) 
"Samson called out to the Lord saying "O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God..." 
And we know how it ends! He sacrificed his life to kill the enemies of Israel by pushing over the pillars holding the building everyone was standing in and on. Then it says "the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life." 
Even in his humiliation, God allowed his defeat to turn into a victory.

In Acts 3, we see that Peter and John encountered a man who was lame from birth, as they were going into the temple. Peter said "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk" and he does! This caused quite the stir and a large crowd gathered. Peter took that opportunity to share Jesus with them. The angry religious leaders had Peter and John arrested and "put in custody until the next day, for it was already evening."

"HOWEVER, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men (coming to Christ) came to be about five thousand."
How great is that?! Well worth a night in prison!

God can always take what looks like a defeat and make it into a victory. The ultimate example being Christ's death on the cross. In that moment, His death SEEMED to be a defeat to all who loved Him but His resurrection turned it into the most glorious victory in human history which brought about redemption for the world!
So, you see, He's a pro at this! Holy HOWEVERS are His thing!
And He can turn your disappointments into victories at well.
I plan to be on the lookout for more of them... in the Word and in my life. : )


July 14, 2015

Proud of this guy

Congrats to Zac who got all A's this past semester and was just chosen to be employee of the quarter at everybody's favorite place to caffeinate!

And he is getting married in 2 months!!! Ahhhh!!!
Aren't they the cutest? : )

July 12, 2015

An anniversary?

We've learned over the last couple of years that a weekly date night is a MUST, when we are care-giving.
But apparently, this wasn't just a normal Friday night Date Night.
Hubby said it was our anniversary!
He said "We are celebrating twenty-three years and 10 months of marriage!"
LOL! How cute is that?!
So, we went to our favorite beach and ate at this restaurant!
(dates are a lot cheaper now that we have to split a meal due to Hubby's esopha-stomach!) : )

and then joined all the tourists on the roof to watch this glorious sunset.

It just kept getting better as we walked on the beach...

Then I suggested we needed ice cream cones, (which we didn't)

and we sat down and continued watching the splendor!
Isn't this amazing?
(no filter!)

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19:1

Such a fun date!

-Happy Twenty-three years and 10 months, to us, Honey! You are the best and I'm so blessed to be doing life with you!


July 8, 2015

Wednesdays in the Word

I love my read-through-the-Bible-plan but I'm more of a two-year-plan-person instead of one. ; )
I'm about to finish it (yay!) and start again and I've been thinking that this time I want to be on the look out for and take note of all of the "But God' verses and what I call the "Holy howevers."

The "BUT GOD" verses are the ones where He steps in and changes things and I LOVE that.

Here are some examples:

"Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. BUT GOD raised Him from the dead." Acts 13:29-30 Whoo-hoo!

"And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt, BUT GOD was with him and delivered him out of all his troubles and gave him favor and wisdom..."  Acts7:9 

Jacob speaking to Laban:  "If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, certainly now you would have sent me off empty-handed. BUT GOD has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night He rebuked you."

"My flesh and my heart fail; BUT GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Ps.73:26

"David stayed in strongholds in the wilderness, and ...Saul sought him every day, BUT GOD did not deliver him into his hand." 1 Sam.23:14

Aren't these fun? 
Here's a good one:

"For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die, BUT GOD demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us."

But what is even more fun,
is to look for the BUT GOD situations in your life!
When we remember all the things that the enemy tried and failed at or the things that should have happened but didn't...
We can see God's intervention and get mighty excited about our very own BUT GOD times! : )

-Next week, we'll look at a few of those "Holy Howevers!"

Have a blessed day!

July 6, 2015

This and that

Some dear friends sent us one of these:

And I love it! It is a healthier option than pasta AND it is great fun to make those twirly strips. : )

Joy has had reading glasses for many years and just started having trouble seeing little unimportant things like STREET SIGNS from a distance ; )
so, we went to the optometrist the other day and found out she needs glasses for driving.
And this is how cute she looks in them:

All the way home she kept "oohing and ahhing" about how clear the world looks now! She says she's "never going to stop smiling over it!"
 BLESS her!

We are big fans of Hillsong and Bethel's worship music and Nathan and Andrew went to Bethel yesterday for church!!!
-Pretty sure that one experience made Andrew's whole trip!
It sounds like they have had a blast with their cousins this week in northern CA! Thankful for our sweet family for having them visit this week!
I sure can't wait to have those two back home on the 31st!

If you are an Anne of Green Gables fan, you might like LM Montgomery's:

 I had never heard of it til recently and it is such a sweet story!

 I'm going to be very brave and make the bridesmaids' hydrangea bouquets for Zac and Tiff's wedding! It will save a good bit of money and lucky for me YouTube has a how-to video!
 I will be doing lots of practice bouquets and then I'm totally timing how long they last before start to wilt. -This is my kind of science project! ; )


July 4, 2015

Enjoying our life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

Happy Fourth of July!

We are adding this Fourth of July ceremony to our celebration again this year. It takes about 10 minutes and it reminds us of the birth of our country and how unique the United States is.

Two of our boys are celebrating with our Sacramento family today. So glad they are enjoying family! And missing them like crazy!

Yesterday, Hubby had the day off, so we had a breakfast date! 

The portion sizes were CRAZY!

Totally going to make my own cranberry and walnut pancakes at home sometime soon! Yum!

Then Hubby took me to a cute, sleepy little historic town to go antique shopping. (but mostly looking) ; )

Doesn't he look great?!
And speaking of my hubby and of celebrating, on Wednesday, he worked his first FULL day out in the field! He didn't even have to go into the office to work and rest, which is just amazing!
 Not to mention that "it is hot as a box of rocks in a forest fire" in FL right now ; ) 
 and working outside isn't even easy for guys who haven't been through what he has!!! 
He says the heat no longer bothers him, what bothered him was lying in a hospital bed and being unable to work at all! 

God bless him! We have a lot to be thankful for! 

Happy 4th!

July 1, 2015

Wednesdays in the Word

"Now the just shall live by faith. But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in Him." Heb. 10:38
Drawing back reminds me of Romans 12:11, which I occasionally pray for our family. That we not be "lagging in diligence, but fervent in spirit serving the Lord."
Fervent means "living in fervor, fiery hot and full of burning zeal" and "the opposite of dignified, cold and unemotional." Amen!
The NIV says it like this: "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."
Because "you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise." Heb. 10:36
 I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this definition of endurance:
"Bearing up under difficult circumstances not with a passive complacency but with a hopeful fortitude that actively resists weariness and defeat!" Whoo-hoo!
Let's resist the urge to draw back, get weary or be defeated.

I think the key is to draw NEAR instead.
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:8

Have a blessed day!