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

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!


March 26, 2017

The week everything broke

So, the A/C in my car died, and it didn't take long before I was melting. The next day, every Prius owner's nightmare happened! -My battery died. And they aren't your normal battery! They cost almost $2000!!! And four days after that the washing machine stopped working.
It was quite a week.

Then God's abundant grace came our way, otherwise known as my hubby's best friend.
In 15 minutes the A/C was blowing cold again, the next day, my car had a newer battery and a few days later, a new washer and dryer were snuck into our laundry room when we weren't home.

Thankful our dear life-long friend, who often comes the rescue and keeps are world spinning!


March 12, 2017

Switching it up

I recently went to a furniture store's outlet store, which was having what I call a 'scratch and dent sale.' I picked out a sofa that looked flawless and a matching love seat that only had small tear on the back. I was pretty excited about my great deal. Then I found out that I could "make an offer" lower than the sale price! Yahoo! They took my offer and I felt like quite the wheeler and dealer.  (which I'm totally not) Then, in my excitment I took photos with my phone to send to my kids.

The last time we got a sofa and loveseat was twelve years ago! And believe me, they had been well lived on by the 6 of us and two dogs.
That furniture was special to us because it was a surprise from our dear friend, Carlos. He had just finished an addition on our house and then he had a brand new leather sofa and loveseat delievered!!! It was an amazing surprise!

Back to my furniture adventure..
The big day for delivery came and I was at work but the kids were there to receive the furniture and when I got home, I found out that the company had switched the loveseat with one that had a really worn out spot ON THE FRONT of it.
HOLY COW and OH MY STARS, I was so mad.

I just can't even, with the thought of being cheated!!!

And then, praise the Lord, I remembered the photos!
So, I called the store and told them that my pictures proved that this wasn't the loveseat I bought. Then I added  "Add I'm pretty sure it is illegal to bait and switch furniture!!!."
-Except Andrew swears that I told them it was illegal to "switch and bait furniture!" LOL
-Yeah, well, whatever! I was really mad. ; )

It was an "all sales are final" kind of a sale, so without the photos, I'd have been out of luck.
But, guess who is getting a brand new one that isn't from the scratch and dent section?
Yay, God!

Here's hoping I will not have to think about furniture shopping again for twelve more years!

March 10, 2017

Time for senior pics

I love that Andrew's senior pictures were taken by Nathan. I think he did a great job!
And Zac went along to make things fun, which must have worked!


Since I was at work, he was the one doing this instead of me:

I love this picture!
I know Andrew looks less than thrilled here but I think this is just the sweetest picture. And I love that Nathan knew I would love it and captured it.
I had a hard time NOT being there for this special milestone, but I love that Andrew's big brothers made it happen.

And just like with baby pictures, by the time it is kiddo number four's turn, you realize that you don't actually need 900 senior photos.
I really do have 900 senior pics of Zac. LOL! And room on our walls for one apiece!

Here are some of my favorites:

People who haven't seen him in awhile remarked that he looks so much like his dad. He reminds me of him all the time. He has his quick wit, love for people and passion for the Bible. He's a quite a guy! So proud!


March 8, 2017

Wednesdays in the Word

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars,
He calls them all by name.
Great is our Lord,
and mighty in power,
His understanding is infinite.
The Lord lifts up the humble."
Psalm 143:3-6

After I graduated from high school, I went on a trip with some friends and relatives and spent a week on a houseboat in Nevada. (on Lake Mead, I think it was)
That was ages ago but I will always remember laying on the roof of the boat's cabin at night and seeing the sky completely filled with stars. It was breathtaking.
I love that the One who has the ability to not only count those stars but name them all, loves and cares for the condition of our hearts. Our hurts aren't beyond His healing touch.
He bandages our wounds and heals our heartbreaks. He gets it. "His understanding is infinite." There isn't anything He doesn't understand.
"Great is our Lord."


February 17, 2017

Jobs and things

Have I whined here about how exhausting a full-time job outside the home is lately? : )
For many years I had an exhausting full-time job INSIDE the home. LOL
(yes and amen!)
At this job, I get to do a gazillion things that my Type A personality actually finds to be fun.  I love it and the people, all to pieces.

Every day is different and I'm always learning something new and feeling stretched. But it is all very rewarding and how fun are paychecks? And weekends?
I'm a big fan of the weekend now!
(which totally makes me think of Lady Violet from Downton Abbey asking "What is a weekend?")

I keep thinking I should get a Fit Bit, because I bet I would totally have those steps by lunch!
I have a question. Are there cute, dressy, COMFORTABLE shoes in the world? Ones that you can run in, if you don't happen to be near the phone when it rings?! Because I have yet to find them.-It is Friday and my feet hate me.
But tomorrow is Saturday and that means leggings, a sweatshirt, tennis shoes and no make up! Yahoo! I'm determined to make sure my weekends include something fun because grocery shopping and house cleaning totally don't count!

And speaking of jobs, today is Andrew's first day on his new job! Yay! It is his second job, that is. And tomorrow is his final day at his temporary job. Proud of that guy!

Hope you all have a lovely and restful weekend!


February 14, 2017

Not just Valentine's Day

Apparently, it was also Spoil Your Mom Day!
My kiddos absolutely blessed my socks off in so many surprise ways!
They made sure I felt all the love today! ❤

One of the surprises they gave me was a video clip that Joy had been saving for me,
for a time when it would be 'a happy gift.'
Today was that day! And my tears were happy ones!
It is a 20 second video clip of my hubby and I dancing to Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby or somebody! LOL
He liked to interrupt my dinner preparations to dance me around the kitchen. ❤
Sometimes he would sing "You Light Up My Life" or he would play music or we would dance without any. It didn't matter.
Dancing in the kitchen happened a lot.
-And not because this white girl has any rhythm either! Because I don't. But he didn't mind that I always ended up stepping on his feet. 😀
(Y'all not even a ballroom dancing lesson helped!) 😂

I'm so grateful for all the times he didn't care when dinner would be ready because he'd rather dance. And I'm grateful  that one random day, Joy thought to film us.❤

Life is short!
Be sure to dance.


February 9, 2017

February 8, 2017

Wednesdays in the Word

These verses in Psalm 73 have been a blessing that have been repeating in my mind and heart lately and are great to combat worries of all kinds. Amen!

"... I am continually with You,
You hold me by my right hand,
You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory." 

So comforting!
And it gets better.
For some reason, I didn't read the preceding verse which says:

"Thus my heart was grieved and I was vexed in my mind,
I was so foolish and ignorant,
I was like a beast before You." 

"NEVERTHELESS I am continually with You..."

Don't be like me and miss the "nevertheless." because how awesome is it that when we've done or said dumb and feel like we've blown it in someway,
His Word to us is NEVERTHELESS!
(and I happen to like it in all caps!) : )

NEVERTHELESS we are continually with Him.
NEVERTHELESS our right hand is still held by Him.
NEVERTHELESS He will guide us with His counsel.
NEVERTHELESS He will receive us at the end of our days.

How blessed are we? To serve the God who loves us, holds us and guides us until we see Him face to face.



January 29, 2017

Graduations for us both

Andrew graduates from high school in June and we are trying to decide how we want to go about honoring him. Our other kids all participated in a state-wide  home school ceremony, which they informed me was way more for my benefit than theirs. : )
One draw back is that they don't really feel like a 'class' since they have never met the other 200 kids until that weekend. LOL
But it is a beautiful ceremony! -And the sweetest form of agony ever. ; )
Agony, in that, by the time you hear the achievements (and there are many) and the future plans of EVERY single student, you've been there 4 hours before they ever get to toss their caps in the air. Yeah, it isn't for the faint of heart. ; )
-My kids will never forget those who gave up their ENTIRE Sundays to sit through this out of love for them.

So, there has been lots of discussion around here about doing something different for Andrew. Mainly because without his dad here, he frankly thought it would be too sad. He still does.
And I can't picture sitting in the parents section alone -or at least not without bawling my eyes out. But there isn't a whole lot about life that isn't painful right now. And I think it might be worse if we downplay his graduation in hopes of making it easier. He deserves to be honored.
My best friend and her son are coming. (they saw all our other kids graduate except for Zac because their niece graduated on the same day) They said they aren't missing Andrew's and are flying out here. (insert a million hearts and a crying emoji or two)
I totally plan on trying to sneak her into the parents section with me no matter how strict the rules are!

Speaking of school, as of February 13th, all of my college-age kids will be back in their various schools. I'm so thrilled about that!!! They all had to take a break during hubby's cancer battle and beyond, understandably so.
 -Except for Andrew, who is a high school student and didn't have that luxury. (another reason to honor him!)
Seeing them all get back to pursuing their goals, means so much to me and is truly worth celebrating.
I know their dad would be so proud of their determination and perseverance. I am.

The other thing we've been trying to figure out, is how we are going to celebrate the end of my 19 year homeschooling career! We've had some extravagant ideas and are now scaling way back to some more realistic, budget-friendly ones. : )
No matter what, it will be fun!
I'm so grateful for this part of God's plan for our family. And I'll be excited to be done. -Speaking of which, I have philosophy to correct.


January 22, 2017

Fun things

We are watching football and expecting a thunderstorm. Our city is under a tornado watch tonight, which never happens. This might be a short post since we've already lost power once.

I am loving the La La Land soundtrack. If you need some happy music in your life, give it a try.

I got a Simply Fit board with one of my Christmas gift cards and it is so much fun to do while watching TV.

I have no idea if it is working yet, but I will totally be good at a rip stick or a skateboard if need be, someday. LOL

Yesterday, I went to my happy place! I literally let out a scream when I saw how beautiful it looked.

I had a little Chick-fil-A picnic, read a book and walked to the ice cream shop for a pistachio cone. Definitely not as fun by myself, since this was how my hubby and I spent many dates. But this verse came to mind while I licked my drippy cone:
"I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." Phil. 4:11 (not there yet)

I've had a lot of sandwiches stolen over the years and I'm happy to say there are some polite seagulls in the world and this was one. LOL

My sweet kids blessed me with these today! They are the sweetest!

This is my beautiful daughter and my grand-dog! LOL

She's a sweet LITTLE thing who is as fast as lightening and always reminds me of:

Did I tell you that we finally have good fish tacos in FL?

 Nathan was afraid to tell me that Rubio's is here now because he said I might not move to CA someday if I can eat good Mexican food here. LOL

I am loving this book, which is all about how God's love should cause us to DO.

Well, that's all for now. Have a great week! 

January 11, 2017

Remembering His Faithfulness

There was a time when my Hubby and I really wanted to move. We REALLY needed a larger house to raise our four kids in.
And then out of the blue, a friend from church had a house that he was flipping. We liked it and we told him what we could afford. Amazingly enough, instead of laughing, he said "Sounds good" and shook my Hubby's hand.

And I thought we were moving!
(silly me!)

Then the Lord directed me to this verse and my heart sank:
 'This persuasion is not from the one who calls you." (whoa!)

The next day, one of our neighbors told us that he was PRAYING to God that we would not move. This was extremely surprising because he was an atheist!

That's when I knew for sure that we weren't moving!
Because God delights in revealing Himself to people!
I remember thinking/whining: "Why did he have to start praying?!"  LOL

It was because our children and his children were the very best of friends and he desperately wanted us to stay in our house so they could keep growing up together. (so sweet!)

So, he prayed and every single thing abovut buying that house fell apart after that.

But here's the rest of the story:

-Our kids did grow up together and we made some wonderful memories. We even vacationed together and spent holidays together!

-We did get to raise our kids in a bigger house but it was still this house. God sent a friend, who voluntarily gave 6 months of his life, to put an addition on our house and would only let us pay in him in home cooked meals!  How crazy is that?!

-The very best part of that story is that the atheist didn't stay an atheist!
He gave his life to Christ six years later!
How good is God?

"A man's heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps."
Prov. 16:9-10


January 3, 2017

Christmas break

I have had the week between Christmas and New Year's off from work and it has been so much fun!
What a gift! It has been such a blessing to be able to spend this week with all of my kids!

And it has been so much like old times! Especially the part where I get to homeschool in my pjs and
cook for the whole gang!
I've also read books, exercised, shopped and had fun hanging out with whichever kid(s) aren't working.

We've loved having Nathan here!

And note to self: Never take "Christmas down" the day after ever again. It made everyone sad
and they haven't let me forget it. LOL

Our final celebration of the season is Zac's birthday! Which we celebrated early, yesterday, because everyone had the day off. 
He will be 24 on Thursday! 

We had a great time together at Disney Springs! If you know Zac, then you know that nothing means more to him than family time. So it was a huge blessing to him that Nate is still here for the fun!

Happy Birthday, Zac!
You mean the world to us!