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

May 31, 2016

That will preach!

Whenever we went to a movie or finished viewing one at home, my Hubby would tell the kids to "Listen up" and then the kids would laugh and groan and say "Dad is gonna to preach."
And he would! -He could find a spiritual concept in anything we watched and make a teachable moment out of it.

So, when we came out of Captain America: Civil War,
recently, I stopped the kids in the lobby and told them what I knew he would've said.
But he would've taken longer to say it ; )
and been way more eloquent!

~~SPOILER ALERT if you haven't seen it yet~~

During that scene where all the super heros start fighting EACH OTHER, I was reminded of how random all their seperate powers were. You had cute, young spider man, slinging webs at everyone, and Wanda doing wacky things with a forcefield or something, and Captain America throwing his shield and punching people and Ant Man crawling into Iron Man's suit etc...
Seperately, their 'gifts' are rather quirky and ineffective. -It really was a mess when they used them against each other!

And that reminded me of the church!
We all have these gifts, and unless we work together as the body of Christ, they are just rather random. They are nothing compared to the coperate awesomeness of all of us being in unity!

And wasn't Burn so much like the devil?
He actually said that he knew he couldn't fight the Avengers himself. "Stronger men than me have tried. But I knew that if I got them to fight each other...."
How true is that statement.
The enemy can't defeat the church. "The gates of Hades will never prevail against it" but if he can get us to FIGHT EACH OTHER...
Then we are totally distracted from the mission at hand and are of no use to the world!

-That is what I think MY hero would've said. ; )


The wayward watch

When each of our kids turned 16 we had them choose a purity symbol.
Two of them chose purity rings and the one who didn't like jewelry chose a compass! -When it was Andrew's turn, he tried to convince us that an electric guitar pedal could somehow be his symbol but we didn't buy it! ; )
He ended up choosing a watch.
But, I'm starting to think he should've opted for a ring!

Because on the several occasions when he has misplaced that watch, his older brothers always take the opportunity to say:

"Andy lost his purity!"



At this moment, it has been found!
Hallelujah! ; )


May 26, 2016

Parties for days

It has been the week of parties around here!

Thursday evening we had friends and family over for a little dinner party to eat all those chimichangas I had to freeze! (since I didn't actually remember to bring them to Tiff's birthday party) 😂 Then we played Reverse Charades and laughed like crazy. (one person on the team guesses and the rest of the team has to act out the word at the same time. It is hilarious to watch!) Fun night!

Friday night we hosted a surprise birthday celebration at our house for a very dear friend of our family! Love  you, D!

And had all these sweet kids over!

They also went to a coffee bar and then came back to eat cake and more Reverse Charades happened! How cute is this gluten-free pink pony cake that her friend made? 

On Saturday night I helped with a graduation party for one of Joy's best friends who has a full scholarship to Howard University. So proud of her!

I had a blast! Because what could be more fun than having someone else fund cute things for you to make on Pinterest!

(thanks for all the painting, Joy!)

People signed Jinga blocks as the 'guest book!' Fun keepsake for her to take to college!
ring pops!

Blessed to have so many precious people in our lives!
Tomorrow I hope to find myself a sunny spot in the sand and then play in some waves and relax!

Happy Memorial Day weekend!


May 24, 2016

His goodness

"I would have despaired unless I believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."
Ps. 27:13
Here's a little touch of His goodness in our lives:

1. It is our last week of school! Glory, glory!
I was just sure Andrew would have to do schoolwork all summer to make up for the time he missed during Hubby's hospital stays and everything, but he pulled it off!
So, the hardest school year ever, will end on Friday. Yay! Super proud of him! And very grateful to still be on this homeschooling journey.

2. As of yesterday, all of my Hubby's medical bills are paid!
I can't tell you how much mailing that last check meant to me! Still in awe of God's provision! -There's nothing like it!

3.  We are going to CA again!
Our amazing friends and family who live out there, blessed the kids with plane tickets and all five us are going!  -Pretty sure this is all part of their not-so-secret-agenda to get us to move there! ; )  They are so sweet!
We can't wait to see Nathan! We miss him terribly! And we will get to attend my niece's wedding, and the high school graduation of some very dear friends. I will also get to be there when my dad has back surgery. And then some of our friends are coming back with us for some summer fun, which will make leaving a whole lot easier!

It has been a very difficult six months, but God has graciously been healing us and continually showing us His goodness, in big and small ways, and it means so much!


May 23, 2016

There's a gator and where's the food?

People from other states always ask us about alligators when they hear that we are from Florida.
We really don't see them very often.

But then this happened to Joy the other night, well, what do we say now? LOL

It was as long as she is tall! And it was quickly walking across the street!
In the middle of the CITY!
Boy, did it give her a scare, even from outside of her car! Bless her heart!

Zac threw a little family surprise party for Tiffany's 21st birthday Friday night. She loves Mexican food so I volunteered to make my sister-in-law's chimichamga recipe. (which I never make because that much awesomeness takes too much work)
I was SO happy about beating all the rush hour traffic to their apartment
UNTIL I realized I had FORGOTTEN THE FOOD, in the fridge!
Literally, all those chimichangas I had just made were left behind! Boo-hoo!
Oh my goodness!
Because of the distance and the traffic, I couldn't go back and I felt so bad!
I ended up waiting until after we all surprised her, to run out and get take-out tacos from the nearest Mexican restaurant that I could find! And they were surprisingly good, which is really saying something because this is not California.
We have way more alligators than we do good Mexican restaurants! ; )


May 20, 2016

Watching and reading

When it comes to Netflix, I seem to be on a British murder mystery kick.

I loved this series!

And now I'm on this one:

And these two are the cutest gardner/sleuths ever! And maybe the only ones. ; )

As far as reading goes, I seem to be on a World War II kick.
 I read this and it was hauntingly sweet. 
And now I'm reading this, but it is huge and I'm only half way through it. 

My favorite books are always true stories about God working in people's lives and this one was a great read about how the spiritual insight of a homeless man, changed a bank executive's life! And their friendship changed both of their lives!


May 18, 2016

Wednesdays in the Word

In 1 Samuel 20, we see that it was a dangerous time for anyone to be David's friend, but especially for Jonathan. His father, King Saul, was bent on having David killed.
These two were devoted friends and we see that Jonathan "loved him as he loved his own soul." (verse 17) How sweet is that?
Jonathan seemed to sense that dire times were ahead due to the circumstances and he asked David to make a vow to him. David vowed that he would always show "the kindness of the Lord" to him while they both lived.
How beautiful is that phrase? The "kindness of the Lord."
It is also so convicting.
Do I show "the kindness of the Lord" to people? Ouch!
That is a WHOLE LOT of kindness when you stop and think about it!
David also vows to never "cut off his kindness" from Jonathan's descendents.

We know from 2 Samuel 9 that David kept this vow and seemed almost desperate to do so.

"Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?" verse 1
And "Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, to whom I may show the kindness of God?"
verse 3

And there was!
(I remember my kids loving to pronounce that name in Bible Quiz matches -especially if they happened to be missing any front teeth!) ; )

Mephibosheth was the last surviving son of Jonathan and was "lame in his feet."
King David said "Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan's sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather, and you shall eat bread at my table continually."

In one amazing moment, he went from a poor, lame, beggar to one seated at the banqueting table with royalty on a daily basis! Isn't that such a picture of God's grace?
Isn't that what we've all been given in Christ?
If anyone has ever received "the kindness of God," it is us, who have Christ as our Savior!
And what an amazing moment that was!


May 17, 2016

Our Full/Fuller House

We have a happy new development coming in the fall. Our oldest son is going back to school. Yay!
He took a break from working on his business degree during Hubby's cancer battle, so that he could spend as much of his free time with his dad as he could. And because his classes were accelerated, I'm not sure he would've seen him very much otherwise. He is so grateful for that decision!

His break turned into a whole year, after all that has taken place...
And during that time he also got married! Yay!

Now he's ready to go back and I've invited him and his sweet wife to live with us while he finishes. They said 'yes' and we are all EXCITED!

It will be so fun to have a full house again.
It has seemed so strange for there to only be three of us living here now. -Last year there were 6 of us because Uncle Phil (Hubby's brother, who is a stroke patient) lived here part of each year, too. And when Nate lived here, there were 7.

So, we are glad that we will once again have a crowded, loud house.
It's our thing!
And you know it is going to get a lot louder when one of your house guests is a drummer! ; )
-We never realized how loud our house was, until Uncle Phil moved in and started commenting on all the "random singing" and the kids playing their instruments. He loved it all.

I just have a hunch that this new arrangement might be something that God uses to help heal our grief. And if nothing else, it will be whole LOT of FUN!

-Congrats to Zac, who just found out that he made the Dean's List during his last semester under such difficult circumstances! PTL!


May 13, 2016

A sweet quote

"There is such a place as fairyland -but only children can find the way to it. 
And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forgot the way.
One bitter day, when they seek it and cannot find it, 
they will realize what they have lost, and that it is the tragedy of life. 
On that day the gates of Eden are shut behind them and the age of gold is over. 
Henceforth, they must dwell in the common light of common day. 
Only a few who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again; 
and blessed are they above mortals. 
They, only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country where we once sojourned and from which we must evermore be exiles. 
The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers, but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland." ~ LM Montgomery, The Story Girl
(a sweet read for fellow Anne of Green Gables fans!)


May 11, 2016

Wednesdays in the Word

I've thought about this verse all week:

"You, who love the Lord, hate evil!

He presserves the souls of His saints."  
             ~Psalm 97:10 

The fact that He "maintains" and "protects" our souls is so comforting.
 If we need any help discerning what is evil,
 fleeing from it, or even need the grace to "hate" it,
He's got us! : )


May 9, 2016

My Mother's Day and everyone else's

So, it turned into Take your Mom to Work WEEK at the florist shop! : )

And I had a really great time!

When I was growing up, my dad owned three UPS Stores. Apparently, Christmastime to the UPS Store is what the week before Mother's Day, is to a florists shop! Crazy and nonstop!
Andrew worked 44 hrs and declared that "Adulting is hard" and "How did Dad ever do it?!" : )

It was really fascinating how the store worked. I enjoyed being apart of the team that processed the orders. Paperwork is my thing! Then they taught me how to put grennery in the vases before the designers added the flowers. So fun!
And last but not least, I learned how to make deliveries!
~I think if my hubby were here he would have kindly reminded me beforehand, that I am really not good with directions and that this may not be something I'm cut out for. LOL
He was directionally challenged also and our kids say the only time we ever argued was over directions! Then GPS's came out and Hubby bought one and used to joke that it saved our marriage! ; )
Anyway, that first day delivering was rough! I learned something new about myself. -When I miss lunch by several hours, I start to be unable to distinguish my right from my lefts. Oh my stars!

And the traffic on a Friday afternoon was something else and all those delieveries had to be made by 5:00 before the moms left work!
And I can tell you it was only by the grace of God alone, that Julie got her $250 worth of roses from Ricardo by 4:57!
And I will not tell you what happened with a certain gate at a certain mansion! ; )

However, my sanity returned on Saturday because delivering that day was a piece of cake! No traffic! No businesses! No deadlines! Just happy moms at home in lovely subdivisions. The only 'traffic' to avoid were the cars scoping out the garage sales! Whew!

My Mother's Day was just perfect! It included: flowers, chocolate, lunch at my favorite restaurant, a trip to the beach, the sunset, breakfast for dinner and lots of time spent with my sweet kiddos! And a sweet long phone call from Nathan. (insert heart emjoi here!) It was loads of fun! I'm thankful beyond words for each of them!


May 7, 2016

With many thanks!

Over the weekend, Hubby's best friend came over to repair and install things! It was like Christmas had come early!
At one point it seemed that everything he laid eyes on needed a little tweaking so I told him that he might just need to close his eyes and walk away! : )
But he didn't! What a blessing! He accomplished so much!

A million thank-you's from all of us to him and his dear wife.


May 5, 2016

The celebrating

Andrew had a great birthday! He was completely overwhelmed by  the outpouring of love he received from so many people!

His first birthday gift came a few weeks early, when a new friend sent him an early gift that blew all our minds, and knocked him off his feet! Literally!

It was an Xbox One! 
Oh my stars!

He declared that this made him a "real teenager now!" -So, glad he isn't a fake one anymore. ; )  
He's had such a blast with some awesome guys, who unfortunately don't live near us. They can now, game together and talk in the headset. -That is amazing to me! 

We all knew that his best friend S, was planning to surprise him with a record player
(his dream gift)

so I decided that vinyls were the THEME for this birthday. And I dearly love a theme! : )

And that is why Joy and I ended up in a creepy thrift store one Saturday morning, so that I could find some old records to MELT. Thanks, Pinterest, it was fun!

 Our dog has since taken a bite out of this funky looking bowl, and that was without the candy in it! LOL


It is an awesome record player! The sound is incredible!

Our gifts to him were vinyls. 

 He got the biggest kick out of this one from Zac. -Lots of inside jokes connected to it. : )

He and I tried to have Hubby's electric guitar fixed for him for his birthday, but the 'fix' didn't solve the problem and he was so disappointed. 

Then I snuck it to a dear friend, 

who had her dad take a look at it and he was able to fix it! AHHH!!!!!! It was the sweetest surprise! He was absolutely shocked! Thank you, D and Mr. W!!!!

These sweet kids, who love him so much, walked into our house that night, and all handed him gifts! Right there on the spot. They were so excited! Cutest thing ever!

 Then they took him out to dinner and came back to our house for cake.

And the next night, we had a family party. We went out for pizza at the same little pizza joint that we've been going to since Zac was in a high chair! : ) 
 Zac's in-laws joined us. Then we came back to our house for lots of games of spoons!
 It was a fun night even though I didn't remember to capture it with a single photo! 
It was a Happy 17th! 

Now all of our kids have had their first birthdays without their Dad. -Whew! We made it! God has been so good to us!
 And we've already been through our first Thanksgiving and Christmas, so things should only get easier, right?


May 3, 2016

So many lovely flowers

It was Take your Mom to Work Day today! Yay!  😉 JK

The florist shop where Andrew works, is in need of some extra hands this week due to all the Mother's Day orders, so I'm helping out!
It's so fun! It is pretty amazing to smell flowers all day! And I couldn't help ooh-ing and ahh-ing over all the gorgeous arrangements the designers made!

One card, that we all thought was so sweet, said:
 "Mom, I wanted to send you a rock because that is what you are to all of us. But apparently, that's not a thing... So, here are some flowers instead." -How cute is that?!

I got to see how hard my sweet guy works for nine hours, and why he smells so lovely when he gets in my car every Monday night. Proud of him!


May 2, 2016

Growing and learning

One of my friends and I get together once a week or so to do crafty things and she taught me how to crochet. I just finished this for Joy!

After ripping it apart at least 10 times!  Joy wants it to be known that the colors are way prettier in person than in these pictures. : )

I've joined a widows support group at our church.
The other members are quite a bit older than I am.  -They talk about things like what doctor to go to if you need a hearing aid, retirement and whether or not they should go and live with their children!
 I had to give an emergency contact number when I joined. ; )
It meets once a month and those ladies are so dear!
And when it is time to pray, they get down to business! 🙏🏻
I love it!
The group provides a series of booklets called Journeying through Grief by Kenneth Haugk and every few months you receive a new one and it relates to what you are most likely facing at that time in the process. It has been very helpful.
Today I read this:

"In a sense, grieving is actually a show of faith. We are trusting God to hold us in our most vulnerable time, when our feelings are raw, our life is in pieces, and our strength is gone. If that isn't faith, I'm not sure what is." ❤️