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

September 11, 2017

The weekend of Irma

Thursday night I spent the evening finding all of the important papers in my life that would have to come with me if we evacuated. It was just surreal to have to pack up my life in one Tupperware bin and a suitcase and be ready to go. I was so thankful to have the day off on Friday for final hurricane prep. We spent a low key evening Friday resting knowing that on Saturday around noon we would know the final track and have to make a decision.

Then at midnight, all of our phones went off giving us a hurricane warning. It sounded like an Amber Alert and was terrifying. I knew in my head that it was only just then hitting Cuba but since I was only half awake, I thought it had arrived in FL that very minute. Scary!

It was such an emotionaly exhausting wee. It was also emotional for me since I don't have my hubby to make these kinds of decisions for me anymore.Then Zac stepped up to the plate and led our household in such a way that made me so proud and took a lot of the stress off of me. I took to calling him Captain Zac all weekend! : )

So, after seeing that Irma was coming over our city as a possible CAT 3 or 4 we decided to evacuate. Mostly because of the huge oak trees in our yard and the fact that every other day or so, half of our street already floods. We were invited to stay with Zac's in-laws in a house which is farther inland. What a blessing!

It was so hard to leave my house and not know what I would come back to though.
And I shed some tears because I kind of think I've been through enough in the last few years without adding the loss of a home due to hurricane damage and displacement to the list. LOL
But the minute we drove away from our home, I had a total peace about leaving and a peace about whatever we would face next.

We spent the next 2 days with Tiffany's family which was such a blessing. We helped prepare their house and then in between weather reports, we just had a fun time together like we always do.
-And we ate lots of hurricane snacks! We only went without power for a good 30 minutes or so. During which time, we realized that we had not charged any of our laptops, just our phones. When the power came back, everyone screamed and went running for their chargers. LOL

I have a slightly crooked pot holder I crocheted during the wait and we played games, colored, and watched lots and lots of Fixer Upper. 😀

Andrew had fun sleeping in their stairwell, which we cleared out for the tornado warnings we were hearing about. He felt just like Harry Potter. When he was face timing several friends while in there, I would walk by and it would sound like there were 4 people in the closet with him.LOL

The storm finally hit last night and by God's grace it was a 2. The whistling sound of the wind was pretty awesome to hear. It didn't get worse and so I ended up sleeping through most of it.
It went right over our county and by the grace of God, those windows and trees that I had been praying for, stayed in tact. Our street did not flood. AMAZING!
And the two spots in our roof that leak twice a year, did not leak at all. AMAZING!🙌🏼

At this moment our house still without power but we are just too thankful to let that bother us. I could've and should've by call accounts been so MUCH worse.

The curfew was lifted this morning and people are starting to get out and about again. Some of us have to work tomorrow. Schools are cancelled for the rest of the week.. And six million Floridians are without power. It is going to be quite a week.

Keep in prayer those who lost so much this weekend,


September 9, 2017

Prepping for Irma

Hurricane Irma is on her way!
Thank you to all our family and friends who are checking on us and letting us know that they are praying! We are grateful!

In between going to and from our jobs all week, we have been getting prepared. We have our supplies. Our back windows are boarded up and we have sand bags outside our sliding glass doors.

It has been a tense week. The stores are out of most things and it has been a big challenge to find gas and water. (I got kind of a kick out of seeing what people had in their carts to survive on. One lady had bananas and lots and lots of wine! LOL)
But despite the it all, everywhere that I went, people were kindly helping each another with advice and info. Yay, Florida!
Yesterday, when I was a work, Andrew let me know that he and his friend had gone over to our 80+ year old neighbor's house to prep her yard for the storm and it turned out that she also was in need of water and food, so they took care of that and shared half of our sand bags with her. Proud of them!

I took this the night we bought plywood and I love how the light shines on the flag!

May we all keep shining, and loving our neighbors.


September 8, 2017

Before Irma was a thing

We had fun watching the eclipse through a cereal box and sheets of paper at work a couple weeks ago. But not as much fun as Nathan, who drove to Oregon and saw the whole thing in totality! So amazing. He has so many fun adventures!

Last week, my friend's hubby's company gave them tickets to a pre-season Bucs game. My friend's hubby and son couldn't attend so she invited Joy and I to go with her and her daughter. It was great fun! I forgot that teams don't play very hard for pre-season games though. So, there really wasn't much action on the field, which worked out just fine because we were busy chatting anyway! LOL

When my hubby was in college, there was a year that he was in at least 4 weddings!
Andrew has at this point been asked to be in 4 weddings this year! The other day, this caused him to proclaim "I'm just like Dad!"
(Yes, you are, but for SO many more reasons than this!) LOL
It is a crazy thing when your youngest son's friends start getting married!
Last weekend was wedding #1 and it was beautiful. (even though I didn't get the best pictures of it)

My cute guy and a couple others didn't have their complete outfits until the day before the wedding, which was stressing me out! LOL But it everything came together and it was perfect.

Then I spent the rest of the weekend with a touch of the stomach flu.  And on Labor Day, we went to Zac's in-laws for dinner and had a great time.
And then on Tuesday, life became all about Hurricane Irma and getting prepared. It wasn't even a topic of discussion on Monday, which later amazed us.


September 6, 2017

Wednesdays in the Word

I had never noticed the context of one of the most quoted verses in the Bible before and it surprised me.
It is: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil.4:13

And guess what Paul was referring to being able to do?
Be content! 
It isn't something that we humans are naturally. He said he had to LEARN it.
This helps me when I realize my discontentment.
We learn it.
And if that sounds impossible or hard remember that learning it is one of the many things he says we  can do because of Christ's strength.

"I have learned in whatsoever state I am to be content. (even geographical -LOL)
I know how to be abased and I know how to abound.
I have learned (there's that word again)
both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."



September 1, 2017

In Him we triumph

"God doesn't expect you to be happy about what has been torn from your hands...whether it's a marriage, your health, a job or someone you love, but if you are willing to trust Him, he can turn trash into triumph ." ~Levi Lusko

August 30, 2017

Wednesdays in the Word

The will of God:

"Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the willl of the Lord is." Eph. 5:17 

This verse caused me to look up all the verses that refer to the will of God and since I'm a person who love lists, here is a very simplified version of His will for our lives:

Never stop praying and to be thankful in all circumstances   1 Thess. 5:17
Be sanctified (set apart) and avoid immorality   1 Thess. 4:3
Do good  1 Pet.2:15
Know that He will equip us with everything necessary   Heb. 13:21
Persevere and receive what He has promised  Heb. 10:36  

It really is all Him! 


August 27, 2017

Nathan's stay

I don't think my boys look that much a like but people mix up Nathan and Zac all the time when Nate is here. And they think that because he lives in CA he must be the oldest. LOL

He was able to stay here for a couple weeks after our trip and it was so fun! (expect for the part where he had oral surgery, I mean)
He needed his wisdom teeth out. Bless his heart. He'd been in pain for weeks!
For the first time ever in my life I have dental insurance! Whoo-hoo! Big fan! So, it was pretty thrilling to save over $2000 on this procedure!
He couldn't feel anything but he could HEAR it all. And he heard when the drill stopped working and he heard when the oral surgeon got mad and left the room!
(Yikes!) And then he felt them give him lots more laughing gas. It was all a bit disconcerting!
He came out telling me he was 'high as a kite.' LOL

Then I got to take care of him!!! Yay!!!
I made mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes and lots of smoothies and bought blueberries and every soft flavored blueberry thing I could think of.
It was so much fun to care of my grown up kid, who has lived on his own for the last 4 years. And he was THE most grateful patient. : )
He was sure he wouldn't have survived on his own. Aww!

When he felt better he threw a little beach BBQ to watch the sunset. Then he and I had a date night to eat crab from a crab shack. (that was an adventure!) Next time I want a crab-opener-thingy! LOL

 We went to the movies and caught up on our superhero  with our dear friends a couple times.

So, including this fun and the 19 hours we were driving together on the trip chatting and listening to each of our favorite books on CD, I feel like I had a lot of quality time with my sweet boy that I hadn't seen in 8 months! Yay!
And now the countdown to Christmas begins!

A dear friend bought me this mug after he left, which I LOVE!

I'm so proud of who he is and what he does.
He leads a youth ministry, goes to school and he wants to use his future marketing degree to support himself as a missionary to Iceland someday.
(but I'm totally OK if that Iceland thing doesn't actually work out -LOL!)


August 22, 2017

Photos of the fun

So, today was the first day of college for Andrew! Whoo-hoo!
Now, my homeschooling season really feels done! 
And here are the pictures from our celebration!
 (AKA my home school retirement party)

Road Trippin' with my girl!

Our cabin in the woods! 

This is where I get to joke that my kids are brighter than your kids! Just kidding!
The sun was setting and they look photo shopped in! LOL but they were all there! Being the shortest I ended up in someone's shadow.

They took me our to dinner to celebrate! 

We visited a National Park and these two did some Pokemon hunting

 Nathan and Andrew did the full 3 mile hike up to the waterfall because elevation is apparently not a thing when you are young and in shape! : )
 -Unlike when you are not so young and not so in shape! And you think you might pass out after walking up these steps. LOL

This is us looking down from the very top of the waterfall

And this is our top-of-the-waterfall-selfie

And here it is in all its majesty from down below

Then there was a day that we rented a pontoon boat because we got a partial refund on the cabin due to the broken hot tub. Yay!

Joy and Nate spent a whopping 10 minutes getting certified to drive boats in Georgia and did a GREAT job! This girl loved it!

I forgot to ask the question all Floridians know to ask! So, as we were driving around this gorgeous lake, I was calling the marina to find out about ALLIGATORS! LOL

And since they had never seen even one, we spent the day diving off the boat and swimming! Something we will never do in our state! : ) 

Happy New School Year, Everyone! 

August 9, 2017

Mountain vacay

Nathan flew in on Tuesday and on Wednesday we hit the road for the nearest mountains to celebrate the end of my homeschooling journey!

I rented a car for the trip online (because my Prius has over 200,000 miles) and when I went to pick it up they said they didn't have anymore compact cars. They offered me a 2017 PRIUS (YES, PLEASE!) and started telling me all about the great gas mileage it would get! I didn't need any convincing! LOL
(the 8 1/2 hr. trip home only cost $15.50 which was one tank of gas!Glory, glory!)
How fun is that?!
And let's just say the 2017 is way more fun to drive than the 2005! : )

It took us 11 hours to arrive at our destination and since I had never driven more than 3 hours at a time, I was toast somewhere around hour 9. Nathan would have loved to have driven! -And all his LA traffic skills would have come in handy in Atlanta but I had to do it all since my kids aren't old enough to drive a rental!

The mountains weren't like any we've seen in CA or CO. They were so green and lush! Just beautiful. And our cabin was at the top of one.
I was a little worried that a cabin I found on the Internet wouldn't be like the photos! LOL
But it was better! We loved it!

On the first night, the kids took me out to dinner for my 'retirement' dinner! : )
And then having a blog for all these years, really came in handy! I found out that I had almost 100 posts about our homeschooling adventures on here, so I printed out some of my favorites and read them aloud and we reminisced and laughed like crazy! So fun!
Then I was surprised by Joy and my sweet daughter-in-law, who strung lights and hung lots and lots of photos of those precious 19 years of homeschooling all across my cabin bedroom! So sweet!

As we celebrated together, it hit me that THIS was what my hubby and I had worked so hard for all of these years. To have this family full of young adults who love the Lord, and who deeply love and respect me and each other, who don't fight or bicker anymore  LOL
and who did actually grow up to be one another's best friends!!!
 It worked! LOL!
 God is good!
Can I encourage you to trust the plan and direction that God gives you for YOUR family. Don't worry if it doesn't look like other people's families. Follow His plan. He is faithful!


July 28, 2017

Never in the zone

My new motto is "Why have a comfort zone when God never lets me stay in it." : )
I feel like I'm in one big, long season of being stretched.

Now, I just say 'yes' to whatever God brings my way because I know if I don't now, it will keep coming up and I will have to eventually.

The other day I heard this verse in our Pastor's sermon and it struck me.
"If you are willing and obedient you will eat the fruit of the land." Is. 1:19
That's a combo that I'm working on. (especially the willing part)

Here's a funny thing that happened the other day when I said one of those umcomfortable "yes's."
I was asked to be in some photos to show the t-shirts that were for sale at a woman's conference we had.  I was given a tank top and asked the photographer if he could edit the photo to make me look tan and he said that wasn't his job! LOL

The shirts were really cute. One girl had on one that said the name of our women's ministry and another lady had on one that said 'girl power.'
I hadn't read mine.
After the photos were taken, we had the choice to buy the shirt we wore or give it back.
When I took it off, I saw that it said "Love Again."
Oh my stars!
An awesome slogan, but not so awesome for a widow to go around wearing! LOL
So, yeah.
I didn't buy that one. Hahaha!


July 26, 2017

Wednesdays in the Word

I was recently struck with how much humility means to God.
I was reading about King Ahab and his wife Jezebel. The Bible says "there was no one like Ahab, who sold himself to do wickedness because his wife incited him." And "He behaved very abominably."
When God's plans of judgment for his actions were told to Ahab, he actually tore his clothes, put on sack cloth, and mourned.
And God changed His plans! He actually does that a lot in the Bible.
Doesn't His mercy just blow your mind?
God said:
"Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days."

Here are some verses about humility:

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." 1 Pet. 5:6-8

"God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."  James 4:6

"Whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Matt. 23:12

"Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you." James 4:10

"What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"  Micah 6:8

"Clothe yourselves all of you, with humility toward one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 1 Pet. 5:5

"Humility comes before honor."  Prov. 18:12

"The Lord lifts up the humble,"  Ps. 147:6

There's a list of things that God hates in Proverbs 6. And I think it is interesting that the first thing on the list is "A proud look." Ouch!

In Daniel 4, we read about Nebuchadnezzar and how God chose to humble him until he learned "that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomever He chooses." 
(there's a great verse for every election year!)
(Forgive me for not typing at Neb's whole name from here on out)
I wonder if prideful people look like brute beasts before God.
Maybe that is why He made Neb become a literal beast! (check it out!) He was one until he came "to know that Heaven rules." (Good thing God does not choose to do this today or life on earth would be like living on Planet of the Apes) ; )

Neb learned that God "does according to His will in the army of heaven AND among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand." 

And then he said "Now I, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and his ways justice. And those who walk in pride, He is able to put down."  

"The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life."  Prov. 22:4 -Awesome!


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