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

December 29, 2016

The less crowded Christmas

This year we decided to spread out some of the fun. Instead of cramming it all into two days, we gave ourselves three! And it was just perfect that way!

This year we decided to attend our church's Christmas Eve service on Christmas Eve-Eve. : )
And we loved it. Attending on this night meant that we didn't have to fight the crowds. Not that we fight. LOL ; )

Our church always does a beautiful job with this service. It is always so meaningful. -And Andrew played the bass in the band. So proud of him for serving. It was a huge commitment.
Afterwards we went out to dinner to celebrate.

On the real Christmas Eve we did our traditional dinner, in which the guys in the family make filet mignon for all. I always make wedge salads and fettuccine to go along with those. I'm not sure why I chose the salad over people for a picture. LOL

After Andrew had played his last service that night, and Nathan practically dragged him off the stage and rushed him home, we ate. Then instead of seeing a movie on Christmas Day like we usually do, we decided to see it on Christmas Eve. Again, no crowds!  We rushed to the theater not knowing that we would only share it with one other family. (maybe that was because it was almost ten o'clock by then!)
 We saw La La Land and absolutely loved it! What made it more fun were the scenes shot at Griffith Observatory in LA, which we have all been to on our visits out there. And who doesn't love a musical when you are in the Christmas mood. See it! It is sweet!

When it was over, it was officially Christmas! : )

Since Christmas was on a Sunday, there was no sleeping in for this sleepy crowd. It was the first time I ever had to wake up our youngest on a Christmas morning. Times, they are a changin'!

We had to get a move on so that we could open presents and eat Christmas casserole beforehand.

 Andrew makes the best faces when surprised! Love him!!!

I love this one because our dog looks exhausted from the fun! 

After church, we had our Christmas dinner and then played some "reindeer games."

I can't remember ever having a Christmas nap before but somehow I got one! Yay!

And then we went to Zac's in-laws to share desserts and play more games with their family!


December 22, 2016

The Advent books my kids can't get enough of

Our kids grew up on this series for Advent. 

I'm pretty sure we read Jotham's journey at least twice if not three times. 

So many memories come to mind because of this series...
The year that I decided I just had to have a Yule log to put our Advent candles in and so my sweet hubby made one. But I found out that a log with holes in it, is just NOT the cutest candle holder you've ever seen. And so I got over that fad quick.
We all remember the night it was Joy's turn to blow out the candle and in her excitment she blew SO hard, she accidentally blew hot wax into little Andrew's face. : ( 
And the memory we talked about last night was the fact that Nathan had a dance he did whenever Hubby or I read the name of the antagonist in the story. It was the Decca of Megdo dance and did it ever spice up the story. LOL

 I found out that the author had finally come out with a 4th book and guess what? 

My 23 and 21 year olds said that I HAD to buy it! And that we have to read it!!!
~I would say that is a pretty high endorsement for a kids series. LOL

And so last night, me and my adult (and almost adult) kiddos got cozy on the couches

and started reading this book! 

And it r It really was the sweetest way to spend an evening!~Becky

December 20, 2016

Full heart

My best friend flew in to spend the weekend!
She and her family are spending the week before Christmas on the beach. But first she came to visit us! We did lunch, shopped for gifts, looked at Christmas light displays, went to church and went out for gourmet popsicles. : )
I got her hooked on watching This Is Us, which I think is the best show on TV. We also needed some Elf in our lives. : )
And we'd both been dying to see Ben Hurr, so we rented that. It was such a quick but fun weekend. The rest of her family few in late Sunday night and they headed to the beach where it is in the 80's and the water isn't too cold to swim in. Welcome to Florida in the winter! LOL

Last night, this happened:

And now we are all ready for Christmas.
It was pretty amazing to fall asleep with all my kids under one roof last night.
I know this is a very unique Christmas and I plan to soak it all in! : )

Nathan gets to stay for three weeks. Hurray!
And what he is most looking forward to, are family dinners. I love that he appreciates those now. So much so, that he says they are mandatory for his whole visit! How cute is that!?

I wish I could tell all the moms of teenage sons not to worry. Those grumpy guys grow up and become as sweet as they once were when they were 7!
 I promise!
And they will love and appreciate all you did for them. They will admit that you were right. LOL
They will miss your cooking and count the days til they see you again. :)


December 14, 2016

Wednesdays in the Word

In Matthew 15, a Gentile woman comes to Jesus and cries out to him "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed."

I happen to think he was impressed with her at that very moment.
(she believed he was Lord AND the Son of David when his own people didn't)

Verse 23 says "But he answered her not a word."
I know that feeling.

Then his discipes came and urged him to send her away because she kept crying out.
But he didn't send her away. And he doesn't send us away when we cry out.
Sometimes something more is needed though.
"Then she came and worshipped Him..." 
And that's when things changed.
When crying out isn't working, WORSHIP.

He answered her.
In fact, he praised her.
"O woman, great is your faith!"


December 12, 2016

Scenes from the season so far

It's a pinecone Christmas!

photo bombed by Santa

Dinner with this sweet one, who is one of mine
Victorian Christmas Stroll
sung to by a quartet


December 11, 2016

These two are home!

So happy my babies are back! 


December 10, 2016

California again!

Last week Joy and Andrew went to California to visit friends and family.

They really, really, really wanted to drive there.

-But this mom can only handle so much, so that idea was eventually ruled out. ; )
(especially after Nathan got a flat tire and was pick-pocketed in TX on his drive out here for my birthday!)

Flying is just great! Not as adventurous, but still great! lol

They have been having a blast, of course.
They have a great bunch of friends out there that they've been hanging out with and they got to be there to celebrate Andrew's best friend's birthday. Joy and Nathan went to a concert together. They all spent time with the lovely P Family and played in the snow in Big Bear!
Before coming home on Sunday, they will get to be in San Diego to celebrate my dad's birthday with him! Yay! Then they get to visit more dear family in Carlsbad and then go back to Orange county to celebrate Nathan's birthday with him!
-So much fun packed into one trip! What a blessing!


December 8, 2016

Holiday fun

One of the big reasons, for my sister coming to visit on this particular weekend, was so that we could binge watch all of this the day after Thanksgiving when it came on Netflix! 

Which we did! 
We were tremendously happy to be the biggest couch potatoes ever! And I still felt queasy, so it was the perfect day!
It was 6 hours long and it took us 8. 
We ate GG related junk food and Thanksgiving leftovers and had the best time!
-My sister manages a well known playhouse I n CA and even she thought theater scene was weird and random. Lol  And the ending...oh my!

Saturday morning we went out to breakfast and then Christmas tree shopping!
We loved the first tree we saw

My cute sister, the tree hugger!

The next day, we took a three hour road trip to America's oldest city, St. Augustine. 
This is what sight seeing looks like with Pokemon Go playing peeps. lol


 So, Jen and I just tried to make sure no one stepped off the curb in their excitment to catch whatever it was they were all catching. ; )

My young adults supposedly took a wrong turn headed towards home, amazingly enough, on our way to the lighthouse! lol  Which left us on our own. : )
But by this time, we didn't have it in us to walk up 219 steps to the top and decided pictures from the ground level were just great.

So grateful for a very memberable Thanksgiving weekend with people we love!

December 7, 2016

Wednesdays in the Word

Proverbs 18 is full of gems! 
Here are a few: 

"A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire. He rages against all wise judgment." v.1

"A fool has no desire in understanding, but in expressing his own heart." v.2

"The words of a man's mouth are deep waters. The wellspring of the wisdom is a flowing brook." 
(note to self: be a brook not a gushing river -lol) v. 4

"The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe." (run to Him first!) v.10

"Before honor is humility." v. 12

"A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before great men." v. 16

"The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him." (great parenting verse for sure! lol) v.17

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue." (be devoted to speaking life over people and situations) v.21

"A man who has friends must himself be friendly. But there is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother."  Amen! v. 24

Have a blessed day!

December 6, 2016

Catching up

During Thanksgiving week, two FIRSTS happened.

1. On Joy's actual birthday, I was too sick with the stomach flu to get out of bed!
And so, for the first time ever, I couldn't make a birthday kid a bear-shaped chocolate chip pancake! I'm pretty sure she would've lived just fine but to me, it was sad!
Because in this family, no matter how old you are turning, you get a bear pancake (that sometimes looks more like a rabbit) staring back at you, while your sleepy siblings and hyper mom sing Happy Birthday to you off key, you even though you aren't really awake yet!

But then Andrew and Tiffany made it happen! Whoo-hoo!So sweet of them! And then my pukey-self felt a teeny,tiny bit better!

2. For the first time in 25 years, I did not make any food on Thanksgiving. Not a thing!
It was a vicious stomach flu that did not need to be passed around to all of our company.
So, everyone chipped in to help! And every dish that makes Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, to this family, got made. (and then some!)

The house was full of food and people we love.
Minus the flu, it a GREAT Thanksgiving!

Then the kids went Black Friday (or Gray Thursday or whatever it is) shopping and the other half of the fam went to visit other family. So, my sister and her friend, N and I, got cozy in the living room to watch PBS's new version of Anne of Green Gables.
But it was HORRIBLE.
So I dug out my original VHS tape of the Disney version from our teen years, that I had recently found in the attic!!!!
My sister and I atempted to set up the VCR WITHOUT the help of any techie teenagers, which meant it probably took us about two hours. LOL
We thankfully have one TV old enough for the VCR to still work on! Oh my goodness!
Remember rewinding?! Ugh!
But we were driven!
Because N had never seen the original and so Jen and I were consumed with showing her how much better it was than the PBS version. And due to our passion, she thought we were crazy! ; )

But we eventually got it working and she saw why we love the original SO VERY MUCH and agreed with us. (she probably didn't have a choice) ; )
So, it was all 1980's up in here that night and we, sisters enjoyed every minute of our blast from the past together!


December 4, 2016

20 joyous years

It seems like Joy's birthday was ages ago, but really it has just been a couple of weeks. And I couldn't let it pass without getting the pictures from that fun night, posted here. So, here they are:

I still can't believe that she is 20!

 There was pizza,

pokemon hunting downtown and sight seeing with some of her best friends and siblings.

And cake!

 -Gotta love when your kid grow up and wants to make her own cake and it is prettier than any one that you could've bought for her!

There have been some song lyrics that have become like a prayer to her during this time of grief and healing. And when I was trying to learn handlettering, she asked me to make a picture for her with them but I didn't really get the hang of it and didn't make the picture. But for her birthday, I asked a gracphics design artist that I know, to design a print that I could frame.

Well, she didn't actually do that. To my surprise, what she did was PAINT the words!
On wood, no less! She wrapped it for me and when Joy opened it, I was as shocked as she was!
 I love these next photos:

We believe God is going to make it all count
 and even better, somehow work for good! : )

Happy Birthday, sweet Girl!

December 1, 2016

Honoring an amazing man

There are so many things that happened in the last week that I want to blog about, but for now, I've just got time to mention what is happening tonight!
 My hubby's company holds an annual awards banquet each year. We've been attending these for years. -I remember during those first years, taking all four kids when they were quite young and praying they would use good table manners and for heaven's sake, not spill anything. lol

I was invited to attend this year because one of the awards they are presenting is named after my husband! It is going to the person that most exemplifies his spirit! Oh my goodness! What a beautiful award! I'be been asked to present it!
I feel so honored to. So honored!

Here's hoping that I can hold it together through the ceremony. 😭
 Thank you, Zac, for agreeing to go as my 'date.'  -If I'm worried about anyone spilling anything now, it would be me.  ;)

"A good name is more desirable than great riches." Proverbs 22:1


November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you All have a wonderful day celebrating the goodness of God in your lives.

Part of our celebration includes my sister flying out to spend the weekend with us!🎉
She has a knack for coming at our low points and saving us!
And this time  she saved the Thanksgiving feast!  :)
(because a wicked stomach virus took me down on Monday night)
She came anyway and then got busy doing the cooking! ❤️Love her! ❤️

She also informed me that a remake of Anne of Green Gables is on PBS tonight!!!!
So, watching that and having her here will pretty much be me reliving my childhood! ❤️

And I'm FINALLY feeling better! Hallelujah!

Hope you have a lovely day with people dear to your heart!


November 18, 2016

Today is that day

Today is the first anniversary of the day my hubby met the Lord face to face and heard those words we all long to hear:
"Well done my good and faithful servant.... Enter in to the joy of thy Lord."

I read this verse this week,which seemed so appropriate, knowing that he is one of those who are
"shining forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father." ~ Mt. 10:43

I loved what Zac posted on Facebook on this day last year:

"Today, our hero went to be with his Hero." So true!

Honestly, we are so very happy for him.
We struggle with what we lost, but we are sooo very happy for him.

He was simply the most eternity minded person I have ever met. He lived intentionally.
The kids like to say that 'Dad got a fast pass.'  And if you are a theme park goer you get that.

So, I don't have much to say. Just feeling ALL the FEELINGS  and hanging out with my kids.


November 11, 2016

Some encouragement

I thought this was a great article!

A creative take on C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters for wives and mothers! So many nuggets of truth!


November 9, 2016

Wednesdays in the Word

"He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." ❤️❤️❤️
Heb.. 7:25
How sweet is this truth! It made my heart soar today to think about how He is always able!
And that He lives (and loves) to intercede for us!

Have a blessed day!


November 8, 2016

Election night ramblings

I loved this book by Beth Moore. Her first novel!
There was mystery, humor, redemption and hope. -Not to mention Beth has the cutest southern phrases sprinkled throughout.

I read this last weekend and loved it. (if you don't count the way it ended!)  ;)
Gotta love a book that includes a discussion on Mr. Darcy and gives high praise to Little Women.

I am watching The Crown on Netflix, which is not nearly as fun as Downton Abbey but it is growing on me. And I dearly love This is Us, on NBC. It has got to be the sweetest show on television.

I didn't expect the election to be this close!

I may have to find out who is going to be in the White House in the morning, but I can always go to bed knowing Who is on the throne!  : )

Florida, please be red!

Yawning and jealous of the Pacific time zone!

November 7, 2016

The upcoming anniversary

My hubby went to be with the Lord, the week before Thanksgiving last year. And the kids and I are very aware of the upcoming anniversary.

I found what I think is the perfect gift to give each of our kids on that day. It is handwritten engraved jewelry. (thanks Etsy)
 -I'm not sure how many cards or letters they saved from their dad, but I'm guessing not too many, so I wanted them to have something he wrote to them in his handwriting to keep forever.

The three boys will have:

Love you,

(taken from a letter he wrote them)

And because Hubby and Joy were the biggest Lord of the Rings fans in the family and would say obscure quotes to one another and change those quotes to match different situations that were going on around them,
hers is going to say:

But it is not this day!

(and if you know the quote then you will know that it makes her smile and inspires her)
He wrote it in a note to all of them several years ago and I'm so glad I saved it.

I got myself something too, but it might turn out to be too painful to wear.

The kids know this is something I wanted to do and that they don't have to ever wear/use them. They can just save theirs in a drawer, if they want to.

The reactions to this idea have been mixed because everyone is processing differently.
One kiddo was happy and thanked me. One was a little indifferent because the thought of all of is was so heavy and painful. Another one loved the idea, and another one became sad and then mad.

Bless our hearts! Rough stuff!

If my hubby were here he would probably try to talk me out of this and remind me that he had messy handwriting
but we of course, don't care.  : )