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

July 23, 2017

Celebrating and retiring

Our family is taking a little vacation in August. It is my home school retirement party. : )
The completion of 19 years and four kids' educations.
Such fun years!
Now they are all in college. Yay!

It took me forever to decide how and where I wanted to have this little celebration.
Life took such a crazy turn that I can't do what we'd planned, which was a cruise with my wonderful hubby, who made homeschooling possible in the first place!

Nathan is flying in and then we are road tripping to a cabin in the mountains near a lake for a few days!
And there will be a corny slide show with lots of pictures (not made by our resident professional -LOL) and lots of memories will be laughed over. We got started early and laughed together about these the other night while face-timing him.

Excited to celebrate this milestone and rejoice in what was God's plan for this family.


July 12, 2017

Wednesdays in the Word

Sometimes we get caught up in the "why's."
We want to know 'why' this happened or 'why' that didn't happen. At times I struggle with the "why's."
But we just aren't going to understand everything that happens here, this side of heaven.
And I found Proverbs 20:24 comforting the other day. It says that "A man's steps are of the Lord. How can he understand his own way?"
Pretty sure the answer to that question is that there is no way we can.
And then a knot garden came to mind.

I'm sure knot gardens look like just a bunch of well trimmed bushes at eye level.
But not from above! They look completely different from above!
I think that's how our lives must look from God's eternal perspective!

And we will never have God's view while we are here on earth.
But since He plans our steps,  we can trust in His care and the beauty of the outcome!


July 8, 2017

Random fun

It is summer in FL and I actually survived for TWO whole weeks without A/C in my car.  If that sounds like no big deal, then you have never been to FL in the summer when it is 95 degrees and the humidity is a million percent. : )
My many, many, many thanks to my hubby's best friend, who spent two whole days fixing it and saving my life and surely my sanity.

I do love the extreme weather changes in FL in the summer. When I am in or near A/C, of course! Just when you think you are going to melt or move,
it rains, or the sunset leaves you speechless or you see an entire rainbow across the freeway!

Andrew is back from his amazing trip to CO, which makes my heart happy even though he and I haven't spent more than 30 minutes together all week. LOL
His best friend is here from CA and they are always on the go. J always comes with a list of places he'd like to go while here. Those usually include lots of coffee shops and books stores and gourmet Popsicle places.  (those are a thing!)

I think Bree's sappy face here shows how much we all love J and enjoy his visits! : ) He's one of the family.

I bought these napkins recently. They are the cutest conversation starters. Thanks, Wal Mart.

Hope you are having a happy summer 
and that your cars are full of freon! LOL


June 30, 2017

Andy in Aspen

Andrew has been on a family vacation with some dear friends in Colorado.
So, I've been getting these gorgeous pictures on my phone for the last 2 and half weeks from Mrs. P.
They've given him a once in a lifetime vacation and I'm so grateful and slightly jealous. LOL
My hubby grew up in Boulder so we have been to CO many times but never to Aspen.

He's been gone for 16 days, so needless to say, I can't wait to pick him up at the airport tomorrow night!
 And neither canhis best friend from CA who flew in last night to spend the next two weeks with our family.  


June 21, 2017

Giving thanks

"All is grace. 
God is always good and I am always loved.
God is always good and I am always loved.
Jesus, at the Last Supper, showed us to transfigure all things
-take the pain that is given,
give thanks for it, 
and transform it into a joy that fulfills all emptiness.
The hard discipline to lean into the ugly and whisper thanks to transfigure it into beauty.
The hard discipline to give thanks for all things at all times 
because He is ALL GOOD." 

-Ann Voskamp: One Thousand Gifts


June 18, 2017

The glimpses

My hubby was passionate about parenting. He poured his life into our kids and I'm so grateful! 
It is a bit of a rough day for us but here's one thing that is really fun. 

I get to 'see him' all the time, so to speak.
All of a sudden he 'shows up' in some of the things our kids say and do and I get a glimpse of him all over again. 

I see him in their quick wit,
in their servant-hearts
 in their work ethics,
in the one who cares for the homeless and knows them by name,
in the two who will talk your ear off about theology,  LOL
 in the deep thinkers,
in how wise beyond their years they are.
In the one who can talk to anybody, 
 in the one who always intercedes for their coworkers,
 in the sweet way they love, honor 
and...tease me! : ) 

Several Father's Days ago : )

Happy Father's Day!

June 17, 2017

The blurr

The day after graduation/the party, I slept until an embarrassing hour. And life has been an absolute blurr every since.

The blur included:

 ~Some fun time off  of work with my sweet, best friend, who was in town for Andrew's graduation.

~A funeral for a friend who impacted so many and who was such a good example to me when I was a newlywed. Watching her taught me how to honor my husband and then later how to parent patiently. Not that I learned that lesson right off the bat, because I sure didn't. : ) And she taught me how to balance my checkbook way back when we didn't have two nickels to rub together. LOL I'm so grateful for her life.

~A date with my oldest son. He only likes the beach on cloudy days, so we went to watch a storm roll in, which is always so dramatic on the beach in Florida. Then we ate a cute place across the street and watched the rain.

~Getting Andrew ready to fly off on vacation. His friend's family blessed him with a plane ticket for graduation and invited him on their family vacation to Colorado where they are having a blast at the foot of the mountains.
Bless his heart, he will actually be in CO on Father's Day which is so ironic! My hubby was from CO and we spent many vacations there ourselves, in the Rockies, while singing John Denver songs! : )

~Starting to facilitate our women's Bible study. This is way out of my comfort zone but our fearless leader is moving. We are reading and watching Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts. Love her! Love being reminded that counting our blessing is really counting all the ways He loves us.

~And speaking of out of my comfort zone, being in a photo shoot to advertise an upcoming women's conference at our church! Thankfully, no speaking parts were involved! They just made video clips of a few of us ladies walking around  in a cute part of town eating gourmet Popsicles and chatting and pretending to shop. (and pretending to drink coffee in my case)  LOL We chatted and laughed and at one point ditched our little camera crew to pop in Anthropologie.

That's about it. Work keeps me busy and I love what I get to do. It's the cleaning and the cooking that are hard now. : )

This sporadic and often absentee blogger hopes to be back here a little more often in the future. : )


May 31, 2017

Wednesdays in the Word

Today, I was reading in Daniel. The famous chapter about the lion's den.
And I was struck with the fact, that this man of God was not delivered at any point BEFORE this, but DURING.

Then I thought about Joseph. He wasn't delivered out of the pit by an angel before he was sold into slavery. And he wasn't delivered before he went to jail for a false accusation.

Then I thought about Daniel's three friends, whose names I probably can't spell. ; )
They weren't delivered from the fiery furnance before it was turned up seven times hotter. They didn't get to avoid being thrown in.
But He did join them there! Amen?

He didn't deliver these people FROM the crummy stuff, but He was present DURING!
What have you been asked to walk through?
Following Christ doesn't seem to mean getting to avert the really hard stuff. But He does come!
He definitely comes!

"My God sent His angel and shut the lion' mouths so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him."
"Do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. So now it wasn't you who sent me here but God and He made me a father to Pharoah, and lord of all his house...and lord of all Eygpt." 
"Did we not cast three men bound into the fire? Look! I see FOUR men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. 


May 30, 2017

Class of 2017

Graduation weekend happened! And by God's grace, it was perfect!
So many things could have gone wrong and none of them did! Hooray!
Lots of love was poured out on my sweet graduate and he was blessed! 

One night before the fun started, I gave myself permission to cry about my hubby missing this and I think that helped somehow. Then I asked dear friends to keep us in prayer for the weekend ahead. And it did feel like he was 'with us in spirit.' 

Thursday night my bestie and her son flew in! Hooray! 
Friday I worked and then she and I cooked for a houseful of precious kids and went shopping and did party prep. And we stopped for mini-donuts without all the kids, because we could! LOL 

Saturday, we did more cooking and then drove Andrew and his friends to the hotel where the ceremony was to be held for the home schoolers  in our state. He attended the 5 hour practice (yes, you read that right!) and his friends enjoyed the hotel's water park. One of his 'gifts' was to stay there over night with his friends since the ceremony was in the morning. -I'm happy to say, no lamps were broken in the process! 
When I saw how nice their room was, I kept wondering why I was letting a bunch of boys stay THERE when I was driving all the way back home. LOL

Lots of decorating and the frosting of cupcakes happened late into the night.  
The next day these sweet friends and lots more, missed church and came to the longest ceremony ever. : )  

J made this shirt with Andrew on it! LOL

After he walked across the stage and received his diploma, I got this sweet text from him, which totally melted my heart on the spot! 

Somehow we were the only family out of 300 go to the nearest Cracker Barrel when it was over!  (they were literally at Chili's) This was much to M's delight because they don't have CBs in CA. ; ) 

Then we rushed back to throw Andrew's grad party! Both events were just a few hours apart. What was I thinking? ; )  

Eating and game-playing happened. Then the  kids ended the evening playing guitar and singing worship songs, which was the perfect way to end such a special weekend! PTL!

I'm happy to say that I've now accomplished 19 years of homeschooling! Whoo-hoo!
And in August we will go away to a cute cabin in the GA mountains and celebrate that fact. 

But now, I need a nap! LOL


May 24, 2017

Wednesdays in the Word

"Through God
we shall do valiantly,
It is He 
who treads 
down our enemies."
 ~Psalm 108:13

This verse encouraged me so much this week! 
Because of God we are valiant!
 (showing courage, determined, lionhearted, brave and fearless)

And it is HE who treads down our enemies!
What enemies has He trampled for you? 
Maybe not the literal enemies that David faced, but the kind that can war against your spirit and your soul. Enemies like fear, doubt, despair, depression, etc...

He's trampled so many enemies for my family in the last year and a half and I'm so proud of us for letting Him (Amen) and just so very grateful! 

Through God we are made valiant! 


May 21, 2017

Casting and reeling

My grandfather loved to fish. He taught all of us grand kids how to fish and took us on lots of fishing trips in his boat out on the bay.
I remember learning how to cast my line into the water and wanting to leave it there once I'd done it, like I had accomplished some big thing and I was done.
But that didn't seem to be how it worked.
Whatever type of fish we were fishing for, required that we constantly cast out our line and then reel it back in over and over again. I wasn't a big fan.
(and in all those years, I only caught one fish! ;)

In the arena of prayer though, it really is a big accomplishment to just "cast." We really are done then! How great is that?
No "reeling" is required! It is actually very ineffective to cast and then reel it all back in.

 "Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you." 1 Pet 4:7

Learning just to cast,

May 18, 2017

Wednesdays in the Word

The other day, I mentioned Judah Smith's teaching on How's Your Soul?
Week 6 is rocking my world so I can't think of a better thing to share in the Word than what he said.
Here is the link. Watch week #6, if not all of them. 😀


May 16, 2017

Missing the fun Anne with an 'e'

My sister and I faced-timed each other while watching the first episode of Netflix's Anne of Green Gables remake! We just had to be 'together' to watch this childhood favorite of ours and this was the only way. : )

I'm glad that I didn't know before I watched it, that it has been called the 'dark and gritty reboot.'
-It is definitely not as fun as Disney's version in the 80's. I kept thinking this Anne was in serious need of counselling or therapy. "The poor dear!"
But it was still fun to hear some of our favorite lines!

 Too bad this favorite didn't stay as humorous and lighthearted as it was.


May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

I'm so grateful to be their mom! 

Feeling very blessed!

May 12, 2017

Doing life together

Last year, one of my friends took me to lunch and told me about her vision for pouring into womens' lives through a regular Bible study. Her desire was for this group of women to become close friends, who do life together and encourage one another.
I remember not being sure if I wanted to 'do life' with a bunch of women because of some past experiences I've had with friendships with women who were competitive. Blah!

God was surely in this idea and it has been a wonderful year.

Most of the ladies in this group are my age or younger. Some of them have kids the same ages as mine and some have little ones. Most are married but hanging out with them doesn't remind me that I'm a widow, just that I am a Christ follower. Praise God!
Some are new believers and some aren't.
We are big Judah Smith fans and have done several of his Bible studies this year, the latest being "How's Your Soul," which was really good.

We pray for each other in person and whenever needed. We've seen each other through some really BIG things. (good and bad) And we always cheer each other on!
Being with them has certainly been good for my soul! They have seen me through a lot of tearful evenings this year and they make me laugh until I almost cry!
Love them!


May 10, 2017

Wednesdays in the Word

Love this:
"But now, once at the end of the ages,
He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.❤️
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgement,
so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.❤️
To those who eagerly wait for Him,
 He will appear a second time,
Apart from sin,
For salvation." ❤️

Heb. 9:26-28

Eagerly waiting,

May 7, 2017

When Mother's day came early

Two of my kids wanted to know if Mother's Day could be early this year. They wanted to buy tickets to see a concert that happens to be on Mother's Day and I said I was totally fine with that. -I don't mind what day I get celebrated. LOL

To my surprise, it was on Thursday night after work!
I came home to find out that they had bought two tickets to The King and I at the performing arts center! They let me know that they weren't cheap, which is why they bought two tickets instead of three. : )

They had everything all thought out! Such a creative gift!
Joy had all my fanciest dresses laid out on my bed to make it easy to choose one and then she did my hair! Such luxury!
 Andrew was my date and a perfect gentleman, who wouldn't let me pay for things.
Since we didn't really have time for dinner, we had a quick little picnic outside the theater, which made the whole night even more fun.
It was so special to be out, all dressed up enjoying something cultural. It was Andrew's first play ever and I"m so glad that I got to experience it with him!
The play was really pretty funny. -We will probably be saying "Etc, etc, etc..." for many days to come. : )
We were totally enthralled until intermission. And then the second half seemed very L O N G.
So long in fact, that he doesn't think he ever needs to see another play. LOL

It was the loveliest of Thursday nights and wonderful "Mother's Day."

May 1, 2017

Anne with an 'e'

When I was in high school, Disney made the Anne of Green Gables series and I was smitten for life! : )  When I got married and moved away from home, I took the VHS tapes with me!
Then I raised my kids on them. Even my hubby could quote lines from it.

My sister and I recently spent next door to forever trying to hook up an old VCR so that we could watch those exact VHS tapes at Thanksgiving when she was here. It was so much fun!
So, for Christmas I bought it for her on DVD. -bless God! I can't believe how long rewinding used to take! ; )
And guess what she got me for Christmas? The very same thing! LOL 

The other day when I was at the library, they were having a book sale and I found the first book on CD for one lovely dollar! I was so excited!
Joy has it in her car as is listening to it now. -"Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it." LOL  ; ) 

Mark Twain called Anne of Green Gables "the sweetest creation of child life yet written." : )


April 27, 2017

A weekend of parties

My baby is graduating high school soon and turning 18 this week! How can this be?

I can't say enough about this sweet young man! He's wise beyond his years and a joy to my heart. The circumstances of life have made us spend a lot of time together in the last year and he has been a huge blessing to me.
-But he will always be 14 in my mind! LOL

This weekend is the 30th anniversary of our church! Our pastor has been leading the church for every single one of those years and still does! He's amazing!
God led our family to worship here 14 years ago and it has been a great place to grow and raise our kids. Hubby believed in being committed to a local church for the long haul. -No church hopping or shopping for this family! We have always been so grateful to be "planted" here.

So we have some special celebrations to attend this weekend in honor of this milestone, as well as the joy of celebrating Andrew's life! Yay! Let the parties begin!


April 26, 2017

Wednesdays in the Word

In 1 John 2:1,
John wrote (most likely to the churches near Ephesus -or so says the footnote in my Bible)

 "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin."

 "And if anyone sins..." (because we unfortunately do)

"we have an Advocate with the Father," (an advocate pleads our case and secures our pardon)

And we happen to have the very best One who could possibly advocate for us:
 "Jesus Christ the righteous." I love that!
(because of course, another human sinner couldn't secure us a pardon)

How did He?
By becoming the sinless sacrifice required by our sinfulness.

"And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins," (that churchy word means that Jesus Himself became the sacrifice)

And I love this part:
"and not for our (sins) only but also for the WHOLE WORLD." (emphasis mine!) : )


April 23, 2017

Learning and growing

I have been a part of a widow's support group for the last year or so, but recently, I realized that my season for being in that group was over. It was really hard to stop going because they are some of the sweetest ladies on the planet. They have been so kind. They have prayed for me and my kids and been so interested in our lives. Plus, they are a lot of fun!

 I'm sort of the baby of the group since most are 20-30 years older than I am. They like the meetings to end early so they don't have to drive in the dark. They talk about the best doctor to see for a hearing aid and whether they should live with their kids or not. -One time we found out who in the room had nose jobs when they were young! LOL

Interestingly, they don't talk about the grief or the pain of loosing their spouse. They are there to party and enjoy each other's fellowship, have a devotional and pray for each other..They only time I saw anyone break down and cry (besides myself) was when we sang Christmas carols.
They are a precious and lovely bunch and I will miss them. It was an honor to spend the year with them.

It took me a long time to realize that even though I had a great time with them, I usually cried almost the whole drive home. Our age difference reminded me of how much living I have yet to do without my hubby.I would debate within myself whether it is harder to loose a husband after 24 years or after 50. Is it easier to have almost finished living your life when death parts you
or harder?
My pity party would be in full swing by the time I got home.

Then one of my wise sons reminded me that I don't have to let this one thing define me and my life. My life is bigger than the fact that my husband is with the Lord already.
I think he's right about that.


April 17, 2017

He is risen!

Happy Easter from our family to yours!


April 5, 2017

Wednesdays in the Word

 Psalm 54 came to mind the other day when I was in need of some encouragement. I've always loved verse 4.
"Behold, God is my helper;
The Lord is with those who uphold my life."

It hit me then that it doesn't say that God is the one and only one who upholds my life. Amazingly enough, He is one of THOSE who upholds it. I had never thought of that before!

He's given me more than just Himself. Which totally makes sense since He is the one who said that it wasn't good for man to be alone. We obviously weren't designed to do life by ourselves.

So, I got to thinking about this 'list' of people I have, who in some small or large way, help uphold my life. And it was very encouraging! I highly recommend thinking through your own list.
Because our family has been through so much in the last few years, many people came readily to mind for the HUGE ways they loved and supported us. But in everyday life, there are so many, who in sweet and subtle ways help us keep on keeping on in our faith walk. They never stop walking in love and they cling to their faith through every trial and cheer us on to do the same.
The phrase "upholds my life" also translates as "sustains my soul."
Certain friends just feed your soul, don't they? Hanging around them makes you love Jesus even more. I love those folks!

When you add to that list, the One who died for your soul and who loves you more than His own life, you've got quite a list of those who "uphold" you! We are in good hands!

"God is my helper;
The Lord is with those who uphold my life."


April 1, 2017

Catching up

I'm not very good at finding the time to blog these days. I wish all the posts that I write in my head, actually made it here. : )

We had a family game night the other night with Tiffany's parents because we don't get to see them often enough. We had a great time even though games were never actually attempted. I also forgot to take pictures of us not playing games. LOL
The love seat mentioned in a previous post, was finally delivered. Glory, glory and it came in a BOX. A very big box! And so we were the first ones to actually sit on it. And the bait and switch was made right! Or the switch and bait -if you are very mad. ; )

Andrew is enjoying his new job as a cashier at the grocery store near where I work. Joy and I came in the other night to say hi and cheer him on.

I made it to my happy place last weekend, but the water is still ice cold.

I found out that I am terrible at choosing paint colors.

But miracle of miracles, Home Depot let me EXCHANGE the paint I bought and for a better color. How nice is that? This is the one I didn't like.

Bree has always been allowed on the furniture until now. But she has a new doggie bed and she actually likes it. -Although she looks less than thrilled in this photo. LOL 

These birds make things interesting at work. They like to guard the doors and rip the flowers out of the flower beds. We were replanting the flowers several times a day. Ugh! Today a hedge was planted in the flower beds. Yahoo! Let's hope they don't care for hedge-ripping!

One day last week, this one decided that pecking on the door all morning would be fun. Too funny!

Joy has a new job delivering food for Panera. When she delivers to the college campus nearby, she does it on a long board. How cool is that? I definitely need a picture of that! I couldn't deliver anything in tact, on a long board -to save my life.

That's about it for what's been happening here.
Hope you are having a nice weekend!