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

March 31, 2016

For the love of books

On Monday,  all of our kids had to work and so I decided that it would be fun to take M's son on a tour of all the best bookstores in our city, because he absolutely LOVES books. We are kindred spirits in that way. I recently bought this:

Notice the "not really" at the bottom. ; )

According to Google, we had already, accidentally, taken him to 3 of the best bookstores out of 10. So, I made it my goal to hit 3 more! 

J is one of my favorite bookworms. He has a wish list of 110 books he wants to buy and those books are categorized! He even has a favorite publishing house! 
We disagree on one thing. I'm a big fan of the library and reading books for FREE but he doesn't care for the library because he wants to OWN ALL THE BOOKS he reads and fill his room with them. (I love him!) 

          This store was just darling! It sold new books and carried half of the ones on his wish list! 

This store sold mostly used books. When you walk in, the comforting smell of old books hits you.

We love these editions of the classics

The one we visited last, wins the award for most passionate staff! 

 When J bought a book, she asked him why he wanted to buy it. : ) -The homeschool mom in me loved that!
If you bring back the books you buy here, you get store credit for your next purchase.  And if you buy anything from one of their neighboring stores, you can bring in your receipt and get half off your first book! Super cool! This store was his favorite!

I might have had as much if not more fun than he did that day! : ) 

March 30, 2016

Wednesdays in the Word

"There is none upon earth that I desire besides You." Ps. 73:25

"Your righteousness, O God, is very high, You who have done great things. O God, who is like you?" Ps. 71:19

"Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your glory all the day." Ps.71:8

"I will go in the strength of the Lord God. I will make mention of your righteousness, of Yours ONLY." Ps. 71:16

"I will hope continually and will praise You yet more and more."
Ps. 71:14

"...To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness every night."
 Ps. 92:2


March 28, 2016

Spring Break is here

Our very dear friends from CA are here spending their spring break with us! Hooray!

 We could not be happier about this!

So far, we've had coffee at this hip and cool place ; ) 

One of the reasons I love M so much! She's always ready to praise the Lord! Anywhere!  :) 

We've shopped at the new outlet mall

Thursday we planned to go tubing down the Rainbow River, but everyone opted for more sleep that day! So we settled for our favorite beach instead. And the Californians didn't think that 72 degree water was so bad, but it was too cold for the rest of us! : ) 

Our kids all saw the midnight showing of Batman vs. Superman. And we were out looking for lamb on sale at 11:00 PM! Things like that only happen when M is in town. LOL 

My Big Fat Greek Wedding was Hubby and I's favorite romantic comedy for years, so I was beyond excited to see the second one on Friday! And in honor of that day, I made a BUNDT cake. ; ) 
Except I couldn't get it out of the pan and it ended up looking like this. 

So those lines about "What is it?" from the movie, were pretty applicable. 

M made us the most delicious Passover lamb meal. 
Then we all went to our church's Good Friday service. It was SUCH a beautiful and moving service! 
Accidentally "twinning"
We've had a wonderful time talking to the kids about what happened in Jesus' life on each day that week from the book of Mark and had some awesome Bible studies. (insert lots of heart emojis here)

Nathan is leaving next week, so we gave him a "Send Off Party" last night. He didn't want it to be called a "Going Away Party" because that sounded too sad. 
(Speaking of which, I may be one SAD mess on Friday) : ( 

We had a blast with a houseful of kids! 

On Easter, Andrew had the honor of serving in the worship band playing bass. 
And the worst thing ever happened. I promised to wake him up at 5:40 so that we could leave at 6:15. And my phone did an update and 
Did I mention it was Easter Sunday?! 
I got him to church 20 minutes before the first service started! 
I felt terrible! 

But, thankfully that kid can roll without much practice! Hallelujah! He's got a gift!

It was a beautiful service and such a blessing to all be together!

After he finished playing for the third service, we had a lovely Easter meal at the home of Zac's in-law's! 

It has been such a blessing to spend the week celebrating what the Lord has done for us,
 with some of our favorite people. The Lord knows just what we need and when! 


March 23, 2016

Wednesdays in the Word

As we remember the suffering of our Savior this week and celebrate His glorious victory over death, I found these various verses from 2 Corinthians chapters 5-8 an especially impactful description of the gospel.

"God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself." 
"He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves but for Him who died for them and rose again." 
"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him"
"Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God."
"...therefore we persuade men, For the love of Christ compels us."
"For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."
"Behold, now is the day of salvation"
"Come out from among them and be separate says the Lord. And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you and you shall be my sons and daughters."
"For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation.
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away, behold all things have become new." 

Celebrating the salvation He made possible!
Happy Resurrection Day! 


March 18, 2016

Family Day

We always do a Family Day before Nathan returns to CA after a visit ...and it is about that time again!   Boo-hoo!
He came to stay for 3 months during Hubby's second battle with cancer and he ended up staying 7! What a blessing!

So, we all chose a date in March and all the kids took off work for it and this time the boys got involved in the planning, which meant a trip to Downtown Disney would not suffice. LOL
They were thinking BIG and their first idea was to go to the Dry Tortugas, which is a fort and a National Park 70 miles off of Key West, accessible only by boat. How cool is that?! You take a ferry over and camp and snorkel in that gorgeous water!

-But, actually, the idea of camping 70 miles from civilization kind of freaks me out!
Eventually, the amount of drive time and the price of the ferry changed their minds. Now, it is on everyone's Bucket List, except maybe mine. ; )

Plan B became St Augustine! -Which actually did end up including a road trip, a fort and a National Park too! But no camping!

St. Augustine is America's oldest city, founded by the Spanish in the 1500's.  They have the oldest wooden school house and we walked on America's oldest street.

 The first thing we did was climb all 219 steps of the lighthouse!

Quite the view!

This is one PATIENT woman. This ship model did not come with all the pieces. So she's making the the ones she needs by hand! All the sails, the ropes, the tiny cannons etc...
So glad that Zac's super fun in-laws joined us!
Then we headed to the fort just in time to see them fire a cannon.

Then we went back downtown to do some eating and window shopping.

That night we went on a Mystery and Murder Tour, because we found a Groupon for it. It turned out to be really fun and exceeded our expectations. It was a guided walking tour through the city by lantern light and we got to hear some of the crazy (and somewhat gruesome) true stories about the city's history! Very interesting!

 Hubby and I actually took the kids here years ago and did these very same things with them,  (minus the walking tour with the gory facts!) ; )
but Joy and Andrew don't remember it! So, it was great fun to redo it all!

I can't even begin to imagine how much we are all going to miss Nate when we leaves! But I'm so grateful for every minute that he was here! -And very grateful that we found out we get to keep him an extra week! Hooray!


March 16, 2016

Wednesdays in the Word

In 1 Samuel 30, David's wives and children had been abducted (along with everyone else's) and their city burned to the ground. Because of the men's great sorrow, David became the scapegoat. It says that "David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him."
Now, THAT'S a bad day!
I love what he did next:
"But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God."
1 Sam. 30:6  AMEN!
That's just what we have to do! Get alone with God and get in the Word and receive the strength we need. It's available to us!

"In the day of my trouble I will call upon You. For You will answer me." Ps. 86:7

"The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people." Ps. 68:35

"Your God has commanded your strength;" Ps. 68:28

"He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him." Ps. 92:15

"For the Lord will not cast off His people,"  Ps. 94:14

"For the Lord is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of Hosts, Blessed is the man who trusts in You!" Ps. 84:11-12

"Blessed be the Lord who daily loads us with benefits; the God of our salvation."  Ps. 68:19


March 14, 2016

Thank you!

That blessed trip to CA was a gift from some dear friends and I don't know how we can ever thank them enough. I hope they know what a huge blessing it was to us!
"Thy comforts delight my soul." Ps. 94:19

Thank you from all of us !!!! 

March 11, 2016

Last day of vacay

We decided to go hiking on Saddleback Mountain on the Holy Jim Trail so that we could see a waterfall. It was once called Cussing Jim Trail. -LOL

I must have checked my brain at the airport or something because I obviously didn't put a whole lot of thought into this HIKING thing. I forgot that hiking in CA means HIKING, like climbing straight uphill the ENTIRE time! I forgot that my best friend just ran a half marathon and that her husband has always hiked up mountains for the fun of it since we were teenagers. I forgot the elevation factor! (we practically live at sea level) And, I forgot MY WATER! Can you see where this is going?  ; )

Apparently, the fact that I work out means nothing!
Like, less than nothing.
I was DYING on that hike!
But the kids had a GREAT time!

And thankfully, I never passed out! And made it to the waterfall!

And glory, glory, the way DOWN was so much easier!

Then we met some of our friends and family for one last get together over pizza!

Such a fun trip! So sweet of the Lord to have made all this happen. What a blessing!

March 10, 2016

The majesty of Big Bear

We got up early the next morning to go to Big Bear!!! We were so excited about the SNOW on the ground!!!
The views on the way up into the mountains were just incredible.
And thankfully, no one got car sick.
 (which could not be said for the way down the mountain, bless our blessings!)

The P Family has the cutest cabin there, so when we arrived we had a great time thawing out in front of the fire place and chatting while the kids played games.

Then everyone went on the hunt for some gloves, and the snowball fighting commenced...

Sooo much fun!
Heads up, Joy! ;)

Then we headed into downtown for some shopping, food and warm drinks!

                                             And candied apples in sun! : )