Monday, July 28, 2014

what we've been up to

I haven't been on the computer all that much, and with that goes all things social media and blog.  I haven't really missed it all that much, either.  I have still been taking pictures and I've posted a few to Instagram and Facebook.  Wanna see?


Friday we had lunch with my dad and afterward went to the park.  The older boys played soccer, and Noah just hung around.  Literally...he stood on this pole, then went and climbed a tree.

Dad took Jonah and Noah home with him to spend the night.  Right as they were leaving, my friend came and told me to meet her at one of our local nail salons at four thirty, that she was treating me to a manicure.  Isn't that the sweetest thing ever??


I Want To Be A-Lone Star.  She totally made my entire week.

I made a yummy dinner and Todd, Graham, Drew and I enjoyed it together.  After dinner, Graham, Drew and I went to rent a movie~Nonstop with Liam Niesen.  Holy cow.  You should watch that movie.


We were waiting on Graham.  :)

Saturday found us helping some sweet friends of ours get settled into their new home.  We moved them and got them mostly set up.  After that, the boys and I went to my mom's house for dinner.


In the country.  I love it out there!

I bought some science curriculum for my kids from a friend I graduated from high school with.


I am so excited about it!  It's from Answers In Genesis.

I got texts from my crazy sisters.


She beat a creepy crawly to death with a golf club.  Because she's cool like that.  The text said something to the effect of her being good and trying to walk and look at what happens.

Crazy, I tell you.  And I cracked up.


I take random pictures of Drew's hair.  I should call him Goldilocks.  ;)  Isn't it pwetty?

Today the boys had a friend over.


They ate and played games and swam and made me laugh.  Aren't they sweet?  Friends forever and brothers in Christ.

After this we went to see Toddley at work.


Because we can.  I love his truck.  And him...he's my best friend and I miss him when he's not here.  I'm so thankful for his job, though, and for how prosperous their company has become~thank You, Jesus!

For years they struggled, but this is definitely a productive time for them.  What have you spent your last few days doing?  Do share.  :)

Love to all!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

At this moment...

...

I am listening to Graham and Drew battle it out during a game of Risk.


(I love when my kids choose things like this over electronics.)

I am waiting on my nails to dry.  The color?


I had to include Crash photo-bombing and my favorite bracelets in all of the world.

I am listening to K-Love.  Music always trumps television in our home.

Andy the Wonder Dog is pacing the floor.  He's a little nervous because the weather alert on the radio just went off.  He hates loud and unexpected noises.  I don't know how he survives in this house!

I am loving my prayer notebook.


I've been super intentional about praying in the mornings, and I love recording needs and look forward to noting answers to prayer.  I was able to note one answer to prayer this morning, and I was so happy about it, that I had chills on my arms and tears in my eyes.

I am missing the times I spent with youth over the course of this summer.  I look forward to more coming up in the fall!


For #waybackwednesday on Instagram and Twitter, I posted this picture of me from Street Reach.  This was the day that teenage girls banged on my shower door asking me how much longer I was going to be, that they were all waiting on me to drive them in the church bus to Jerry's Sno Cones.  Hence the no makeup and drippy hair.  I literally threw on clothes and ran to the bus.  And this girl does not run.

I am now listening to Graham play his drums.  I guess they ended the game they were playing.

I am hearing these two chase each other around the house.


Her new favorite spot is on the dog bed.  Crazy cat.

What are you doing at this moment?  I'd love to hear from you!  I feel like it's crickets chirping on the ole blog.  Feel free to leave comment love.

Love to all!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

service

Do you serve others?  Do you look for opportunities to pour yourself out on others, in the sweet name of Jesus?  I didn't always look for opportunities to serve.  I cringe to think of how selfish I was with our resources and time.  God has done so many things in my life, but one of the biggest things He has done is change my perspective.

I love how mission-minded our church has become.  In the past couple of years, we've started taking "church" outside the walls of our beautiful building.

I especially love serving others with my family.  I don't write this to brag, because trust me...there is nothing to brag about in this life of mine, except all of what Jesus has done in our lives.  I do write this, however, to encourage you to find a place to serve others.

We were given an opportunity to do this with some of my church family today, and it was a beautiful sight to behold.  We filled one hundred and eighty-one backpacks for underprivileged kids in the Brinkley Heights area of Memphis.  Money and supplies were donated and after the bags were filled, they were delivered.


These are just a few that we worked on.  :)

We don't serve to make ourselves to feel good, but we serve because it's a joy to do what is required of us. I was reminded of a verse in Luke that talks about this, that to whom much has been given, much is required.  Though we are in no way wealthy in the eyes of the world, we are rich in the love of Jesus.

I encourage you to look for ways to serve with your family.  It is so good for kids to participate in this.  The world does not revolve around these little humans we've been given to raise, much to the dismay of some.  It's good for them to help others, to put others before themselves and to always be ready to lend a helping hand.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.  For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.  (Romans 12:3-8)

Even though these verses talk about us all having different gifts, I also think that we are all called to serve in some way.  It's a joy and an honor and a privilege to be able to love others the way that Jesus loves us.

Here's one more funny picture from today~my friend Lori took this because my phone was dead and she texted it to me.  I think Drew was trying to break a record on how many he could carry to load onto the church bus.  ;)


One other thing about serving that I love is that in doing so, it keeps our eyes fixed on Jesus.  It's hard to be temperamental or mad or fearful when you have your eyes fixed on Him.  Even if this isn't your spiritual gift, look for an opportunity like this every once in a while.  It's really cool to see how God works in situations like today, when my friend wasn't even sure at first if she had enough money to get what was needed.  It's like the fishes and bread story in the Bible and how Jesus multiplied what they had to feed the crowd.

Thanks for reading.  Love to all!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Camp

It's no secret that I love camp.  In fact, I really think it would be fun to attend an adult camp...but then again, maybe not.  Part of the fun of going as an adult are all the counselor privileges.  :)  And a lot of my friends go, so it's just like one long sleepover, which I also love.  My boys love it, too.  This year it was a little bittersweet for me.  I'm so excited about Jonah and Noah moving up to youth, but it was also a little sad that this was their last year as a First Kids Camp camper.  I might have cried the last day.

Every year, we make the twenty minute drive to Moscow, Tn to this place.


This is like no other camp I have ever been to.  It's beautiful, for one thing, the food is incredible and the cabins are very comfy.  And they have indoor plumbing and an air conditioner.  When I was young, the bath house was a walk away and the cabins had screens on the windows...that was God's air conditioner.

We spent Sunday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon here.  We arrived around 5:15 Sunday and were assigned to our cabins to unpack.  Dinner was at six, camp meeting was at seven, snack was at eight and late night (Minute to Win It games) was at nine.  The schedule said lights out at ten thirty, but we all know how well that usually goes over with kids.  Especially kids who are away from home.

While we're there, our mornings dawn bright and early.  Official wake up was at seven each morning, but mine was at six fifteen, so I could have quiet time before the girls got up.  Our breakfast happens at eight and at nine is one of my favorite things about camp...possibly the one thing I love most.  It's called A.M. Watch, and it happens in a clearing that overlooks the lake.  Austin gives each camper a folder with a guide to read a passage of Scripture, then there are questions they answer to make sure they understand what they've read.  The kids each go to different spots, and I love seeing them spend this time with Jesus each morning.  Honestly, it brings tears to my eyes.

After this quiet time, we go back to our cabins for "clean up", then at ten there is something called Creative Track.  They get to choose to do one activity throughout our time there, and when we get back on Wednesday night, it becomes part of our worship service that night.  The choices are puppets, creative movement, sign language, drama or crafts.  My boys chose puppets.


Here they are choosing their puppets.  Before I go any further, I need to tell you how much fun we had with the teenagers that accompanied us to camp this year.  We took more than we've ever taken before, and I was (once again) blown away by their servant hearts.  Our teenagers in the youth are amazing!  In case I haven't told you that lately.  Seriously, though...I love them.

After Creative Track, snack comes at ten thirty, followed by Bible study at eleven.  We break into small groups for individual Bible study and we stay together until lunch at noon.  At one is "siesta" (yeah, right) in our cabins and at one thirty is another favorite of mine~swim time!  Austin loves us lady counselors and allows us to stay in the pool the whole two hours.  The guy counselors work the canoes and the game room.  Snack comes again at four, we go back to our cabins to change, then at five we go back to Bible study.  Dinner is at six, worship is at seven, snack at eight and late night is at nine.  Repeat, and repeat again on days three and four.

And that is our whole camp schedule.

Do you see why I'm always so exhausted after we get back?  We go and go and go the whole time, so much so that I don't have time to be tired until Wednesday night, and then I crash.  But it's a good kind of tired and it's a blast.

Here are some more pictures from our time there.


Our sweet fifth grade girls in 3A~Ericka, Maddie and Gabbey.  My cabin mate was my friend Laurie, who is really fun to be with.  I think we talked ourselves to sleep every night.


Brother Chuck comes out and stays at camp with us the whole time.  This picture was taken of him Monday night, when he was preaching during our worship service.  I love that he comes out and stays with us~he is so much fun, and these kids all have great relationships with him.  It's not often that this happens between kids and their pastor.


Just a few teenagers who went with us~Tyler, Emma and Holly.  This was during late night.


Drew and me during A.M. Watch.  I was taking pictures and he was walking around.  Pardon the grey in my hair and the lack of makeup.  I saw it pointless to even bother with it before swim time...but after we swam, I did get "dressed", and that included a little makeup.


Toddley and me during Creative Track.  We always help with the puppets each year.


One of the hardest working counselors that was there all week~Alex and Jackson.


Mr. Austin and Graham, with his puffy face.  He was stung by a hornet and swelled up like a balloon.  Poor guy.


Holly and me.  I love this girl!  I will be sad to see her leave youth~she graduated this year and is moving on.  :(


While we wait in line for our meals, the campers and counselors entertain themselves.


Crazy Cameron joining the fifth grade girls as they sing and dance to "Little Sally Walker".  This guy is a mess!  And I adore him...it's been so much fun being around these guys in our youth all summer.


My cabin mate on the other side from me, Mary and her sweet girl Amy.

See why I have so much fun???  It only took me the next four days to recover, but it was well worth it!  I'm already excited for next summer, when I get to do it all over again.  Not that I'm willing my life to rush by, because I'm not at all.  The one thing I don't love about camp is all the laundry it produces~and speaking of that, I better get to it.  I am STILL not caught up yet.  Love to all!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

100 days of happiness

It's been a busy week, but I thought I would share some more of my Instagram pictures for the 100 days of happiness challenge.  These are days nine through twelve, with a few extra thrown in.


I came across this picture the other day when I was putting laundry away in our bedroom.  We were babies!  We were both twenty six, Graham was four, Drew was three, Jonah and Noah were about four months old.  It's crazy to think we were so young and were done having kids already, and had been married for seven years.  This was my day nine picture.



Day ten, Thursday, was on the square in The Ville.  The sweet little girl is Hadley, my friend Lori's niece.  She was loving me this night, and she doesn't always love me, because I shared my lip gloss, some grapes and my water with her.  :)  The music was awesome Thursday night for the Sunset on the Square summer concert series and the weather was beautiful.  It was a fun night.


Day eleven, Friday, was spent with my Daddy and making a gigantic to-do list.  More about this in a minute.


Oh, the decisions.  I wanted to make my nails a fun color, so I went with the OPI on the far right.  :)  (My mom and I went to lunch yesterday and got pedicures afterward.)


Todd's gift to me Saturday morning.  :)  


Noah was my day twelve.  :)  He bought this soccer ball with some money he earned recently.  If you need a great set of dog sitters, he and his twin bro are for hire.  :)  


And then, of course, Jonah wanted one too.  :)  Noah photo-bombed the picture without even knowing it.  ;)


Not a very good picture, but the super moon last night was amazing!  

Today we are off to kids camp!  I decided to write a quick post since I won't be back on here until Thursday.  Please pray for these sweet kiddos who are going!  I pray that they come to know Jesus in a new way this week, and maybe even for the first time.  Our whole family is going, and I think I may be more excited than my actual kids.  It's a big friend-fest for me every year, as well, because lots of my favorites go.  :)  I can't wait to see what group of kids I'm with and to love on some sweet babies.

See you Thursday!  Love to all.  

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

~words~

I adore music...mostly any kind, but it seems like there is always music in my house.  I have this radio in my kitchen that is on all the time.  When I'm doing laundry, when I'm cooking, when I'm cleaning downstairs, I turn it on and crank it up.  If you ever walk into my house unannounced and hear me singing, please keep all comments to yourself.  ;)  Sometimes I forget and sing really loud when my kids have friends over~that's always fun and they love it when that happens.

I especially love this kind of music.


Graham is my only child to pursue music.  He was interested as a young boy and as a teenager that fact remains.  He purchased this guitar over the weekend from some friends of ours.  He ordered new strings for it Sunday.  In the meantime, he taught himself the beginning of Oceans by Hillsong and the beginning of an old Eagles song.  I love hearing music resonate through our home.  There is something so homey and warm about it that I love.

This morning, in spite of a threatening storm (which passed us by), I met a couple friends from our homeschool group at our local sprinkler park.  The weather was so nice and it was great getting to see them.  Both of these sweet ladies will not be returning to our group in the fall, which stinks for me.  I love them both and will dearly miss seeing them each week.


Here are a few of the kiddos who came today.  The only one I didn't bring is the one with the shirt on, with the big grin.  I love how the other ones were all like, "Really?", and Doug was hamming it up for my camera.  :)  Love him.

We left the water park and I ran my two older boys to Booya's.  They met some kids from our youth group for lunch, then went to YoLo's for some frozen yogurt.  I had to pick Graham up and go to the doctor~which I am so thankful that I did.  Poor thing had his eardrum rupture sometime last night.  He was in horrible pain all day yesterday, but he felt a little better today.  That's why, because when his eardrum ruptured, it relieved some of the pressure.  We left with two antibiotics.

After his appointment, we ran by to see my mom at work.


I love her shop!  It's called Cottage on Main, and right now, I love everything in the store.  I sneaked this picture while I was there.  The home the shop is in is a really old residential home.  Before the owner bought it, it was a photography studio.  It's old and charming and all the floors creak when you walk on them.  It makes my heart so happy.  I love historical buildings.

My habit the last few nights has been this:


I am sure that tonight will be no exception.  Todd and Graham are watching soccer.  Drew is at Bible study and Jonah, Noah and Alex are upstairs playing.  My newest addiction is Parenthood.  I am on Season 3, episode fourteen.  I have a problem...my name is Jennifer and I am addicted to this show.  Don't judge.  Please.

Look what I filled out today!


Camp forms!  I cannot wait.  Tomorrow we have a parent meeting at church and we leave on Sunday!  I love, love, love our kids camp and am a little sad that this will be Jonah's and Noah's last year.  However, I am excited that they're moving up to youth...I just hate to leave our family pastor and his wife.  It's the end of an era, and we all know how I feel about change.

But I am very excited about camp...I don't know who has more fun, the counselors or the kids.  I think it might be a close tie.

Well...I am getting off this laptop.  Enjoy your night!  Love to all.

Monday, July 7, 2014

100 Days of Happiness

That's an Instagram photo challenge.  I thought I would share with you the pictures I've posted so far...these take you through Day 6 of the challenge.






This above picture was day four...we were at my Mom's and stepdad's on the fourth and they were just hanging out at the back of Tyler's truck.  Left to right is Noah, Bill, Tyler, Jaret, Jonah, Drew and Graham.  :)




This is my friend Stacy...we go all the way back to toddlerhood with our friendship.  I got to see her for the first time in twelve years at my dad's house this Saturday.


My final picture is from last night at our ninth and tenth grade small group pool party.  I love these kids so much, and before they swam, we had a sweet time of sharing our passions with one another...we started a video series last night called How To Make A Difference by Max Lucado.  In that, he talks of finding your voice or your passion and doing something about it.  Whether it's making a difference in the lives of teenagers (my passion right now) or finding a way to contribute to a cause of some sort, the God of the universe Himself empowers us with the strength and the wisdom we need to be able to accomplish what He lays on our hearts.

Well....laundry and housework is calling my name.  My kitchen is a wreck right now, so that's going to be first on my to-do list.  I hope your day is great~love to all!