Thursday, July 28, 2016

just a random list of things rolling around in my brain

It seems as if I've been home a LOT lately, and when I was thinking why that was, I remembered yesterday that we are short two cars right now.  Todd's truck has been in the shop forever and right now, Graham's Bronco needs a new fuel pump.  I was just thinking I was being lazy by staying home all the time, and while that may be partly true, it's not ALL that I'm just being introverted and lazy.  It has felt really great being at home, though.  I'm caught up on laundry and house work and I've done my part at freeing up more space on our DVR.  :)  (Did anyone else love watching the Christmas in July on the Hallmark channel as much as I did?)

Yesterday I spent a good portion of my day getting things organized for our upcoming school year.  I started cleaning off the bookshelves in the living room, but there are still books everywhere.  I gave up and called it a day, because I wasn't in the mood to finish that project.  I'll try again tomorrow, maybe.  (I'm still not in the mood to do that today.)

My fingernails are bugging me.  I realize most women love to have long fingernails, but mine are so long that they're getting in the way.  For instance, I do not like the feel of them as I type out this blog post.  I've been getting my nails done this summer with gel polish so the polish will last on my trips, and the one thing that the polish helps is nail growth.  I keep filing them, and making them short again.  When I look at the backs of my fingers, I don't like to see them too much.  Weird, I know.  I found a little place out here in The Ville that charges twenty dollars for a polish change.  I do that once every two weeks.  Not too shabby, huh?  And I've loved not having chipped nails all summer.  (First world problems, I know.)

I hate politics.  I mean, I REALLY HATE politics and all the junk this brings about on social media.  I almost can't stand being on Facebook anymore and I've been reading a lot, instead.  Or, browsing Instagram or Snapchat.  I don't use Snapchat a lot, except for my family and Alex, but I see things that other people send.

I am not one to wish away the days or present times of my boys, but I know I've said on here before how glad I will be when Jonah and Noah are out of middle school.  You would not BELIEVE the drama that can occur with middle school boys.  There are so many things that are said that are taken the wrong way, or there is something someone will say through a text that gets misinterpreted.  I've forbidden my boys (all four) to talk about serious things over text.  I told them that there are just some things that warrant a phone call.

Speaking of this, did you know that I'm raising a teenaged son with the mindset of an eighty year old man?  I am.  His name is Noah.  I love him so much, and I love that HE HATES texts and just calls everyone instead.  God bless him.  

God has allowed me moments of sweet fellowship with Jonah, Noah and Alex over the course of this week.  There have been some really great talks that we have had, and I am so thankful for moments that He gives me to pour into them.  Some of them have been little growth opportunities (because sometimes they just get on each other's nerves), and some of them have been me giving me them advice.  I always ask that the Lord would give me moments to serve my husband and these boys that are always here, and He does that often.

I am ready for school to start.  I love summer, but too long of no routine starts to grate on my nerves, and I am always ready for a new routine again by this time of summer every year.  And I am saying that, knowing full well of how emotional of a year this is going to be with me having a senior.  It doesn't seem possible, and I'm finding myself letting go a little more each day, as Graham starts to grow into the man of God that he is becoming.  I don't mean that I'm not parenting him anymore, because that won't stop until the day he marries (or EVER), I just mean that I'm letting him make more and more decisions on his own and get to an area of thinking by himself.  Every once in a blue moon, he will come to me for advice, but that's rare.  Thankfully, though, he tells his dad everything and gets advice from him all the time.  It needs to be that way.

I have a couple of things that I'm waiting on right now, responses to emails that I have sent.  I know that God has placed a love of writing on my heart.  He did that a long time ago, I've been writing short stories since I was a young girl, but He is growing it more and more the older I get.  I don't know what He plans on doing with this love of mine, but He is giving me more and more opportunities to get to know others that are like me through social media.  I'll get an opportunity to be on a launch team for a favorite author's new book, I'll randomly get a friend request from an author I've read, I'll get emails telling me about writer's conferences that I'm invited to, or I'll get asked to submit an entry for a future publication in a magazine or online forum.

I don't say that to brag, but those are all opportunities that God has given me, I've not sought them out.  On Tuesday of this week, I submitted an excerpt from something I've written to be considered for a future issue of a Christian magazine.  I've done this before and have never heard back, and I may not hear back this time either, but I know that something will eventually fall into the right hands, if that is what God so desires for my life.  He has given me this blog to write on for now, with people who faithfully read it, and I pray I always use it in the right way.  I know that God is in all these little details.  I'm content with life as I know it right now, but I don't want to be too comfortable or stagnant.

So I may continue to submit pieces of things I've written, and I may continually be turned down.  That's okay.  I want to use the talents that God has given me, though, and I know that writing is one of them.  I know that because I love to do this and because people have always said to me that I should write a book.  Well, someday, I may just do that.  I have no idea about any of it, though, or what it would be about, but I know if God wants me to write, He will give me something to write about.

For now, it's about Jesus and how amazing He is, or our sweet little life, or our homeschooling journey, or our church life and family, or about these random lists I always have in my head.  I am thankful for this life that the Lord allows us to live, and I pray I never take any of it for granted.  I don't really know why I put all this out there for people to read, because I may continue to be turned down, but know that I have things that I am attaining to as well, and I have to remind myself to trust in the Lord.  And in His timing.  Maybe someone else needed to read that today.

And don't you love how these posts of mine always start out funny (maybe) and light hearted, then end on a serious note?  Story of my life.

I need a picture for Pinterest, so I'll post the book I started reading last night.


Two separate blogs that I read both mentioned this book, and Amazon recommended it to me.  I figured I needed to check it out for myself since that way the case.

Love to all.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

life this week

I love that my mom is retired nowadays.  One day last week, the boys and I went to her house for lunch because we hadn't seen her in a few weeks.  On Monday, we grocery shopped together.  We went to Sam's, then to Costco for lunch first, then more groceries (for me).  I love doing little mundane things like that together.  Graham and Drew were helping a friend move into her middle school classroom that day, so it was just Jonah and Noah that went with us.

Because I was gone most of Monday, I requested that everyone be at home on Tuesday for cleaning.  We spent all morning doing just that, and my house is still pretty clean.  Except for the dog hair all over the floor, that I hate, but what is one to do?


I even mopped, which I usually don't do.  The floor was spotless for about an hour, then life started happening again, and now it's no longer spotless.  This was Twinkles, hanging out on the rug while I took this picture.  She doesn't always turn her back on me, though...maybe she was upset with me.

For those of you who knew that we had two cats, we had to have one of them put to sleep a couple weeks ago.  I never mentioned it, but she had a lot of issues going on: she had a messed up thyroid, and it turns out that she was in kidney failure and seemed like she was in pain.  She had also stopped eating.  This was Skippy, the kitty who lived in my bathroom upstairs, because the dogs stressed her out.  It was a sad day for us when we made that decision, but we felt like it was the most humane thing to do, because who wants to watch a pet suffer?  She lived a long and happy life, and was fourteen years old.


I made beer cheddar joe's for my family last night and they love  topping them off with an array of hot sauces.  I think they have a small addiction.

I went out to dinner with a sweet, sweet friend of mine last night.  We determined that we would be friends forever, because we know too much about each other.  This is my friend Andrea, who I met through our homeschool group.  She is one of my very best friends, and I love time with her.  We met for dinner at Swanky's, then sat in her car and laughed ourselves silly until ten thirty last night.

She is a friend who has walked before me in this homeschooling journey, and she helps me out all the time with advice.  Especially since Graham is a senior this school year.

Gulp.

And speaking of that, I spent my morning drinking coffee and signing him up for the ACT and listing the top four college choices.

I might have just almost gotten sick.  I cannot believe he is the age that he is, and that I am thinking about all of the things that he needs to do this year.  It's a bit overwhelming, but I can no longer remain in denial, and I got the ball started this morning.

I found a spiral notebook and have started it for him with all the important information that I will need, and I'll add a folder (as soon as I buy one) to hold tickets and such that he will need.  This is all thanks to Andrea, who gave me these ideas last night.  Also in the spiral, I'll keep track of what we're using as their curriculum for school.  I don't know why I never thought of that before, but I suppose it's better late than never.

It's been a busy morning.  And it took several hours, but I'm glad I got a start.  That helps me not dread it anymore.  Sometimes just the thought of starting will make me panic.  (Please tell me I'm not alone?)

Before I forget, look what came out today!


The scripture writing plan for August is up from http://www.swtblessings.com/.

Well.  I have laundry waiting and hungry kiddos nearby, so I guess I'd better go take care of them all.  Love to all!

Monday, July 25, 2016

the weekend

Our weekend started off on Friday, with my dad coming over for lunch.  Usually, we go out to eat, but I am officially over eating out.  I made us lunch (his favorite~egg and olive salad) and we enjoyed eating here.  Graham and Drew worked that day but came home in time for lunch.  And only one kid likes egg and olive salad, so I made something different for them.

We visited and got all caught up and my sister Trish stopped by on her way home from work, so it was a loverly afternoon.  (I made that word up, but it's a good one, right?)

Later in the afternoon, Alex brought down a couple of visitors from his house: his little cousin and his nephew that is pictured with me.


Carson is the most adorable baby I have EVER seen.  I love his chubby little cheeks, and the way he holds his top lip.

We had pizza for dinner this night, then all the boys went night swimming.

Saturday I woke up to a massive thunderstorm.  Those are my favorite kinds of morning.  I took the dogs out and fed them, then settled into my chair to read.

Imagine that.



I finished The Antelope in the Living Room and I started Love Does.

I have a few chapters left of Love Does and I'll be done with it as well.  I had a teenager ask me to annotate a book for her last night before school starts.  I laughed, because I'd probably hate the book and because she needs to read it for herself!  (I was tempted to say yes.)

Because of my love for her.

Anyway, my husband had an entire day at home with us, which is extremely rare.  We went to my mom's house for dinner that night, minus Noah, who went swimming with Alex.


It was a beautiful night, way hot, but pretty, all the same.

We had church yesterday, then community group last night, for the first time in AGES!  We watched them swim in my friend's mom's pool and sat talking and laughing with that friend under a fan and the canopy of bug spray.


I have so missed having community group.  This has been a busy summer and we've had to cancel a lot, but I have an idea about next year that I want to talk about with the youth pastor that would help prevent that.  I think it's genius, but we'll see.

I hope you enjoyed your weekend!  Love to all.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Favorites, Lazy Girl edition


True to the name of this blog post, I have been so extremely lazy this week, and it has felt GLORIOUS.  I've had some great moments from this week, though, so I thought I'd share.

I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals for this blog post.

One.


Seeing this sweet Marissa last weekend was my most favorite memory of the entire week.  As I'm writing this, I'm also texting her.  It's like we're the same people, though I'm almost two decades older than her (maybe not, I might be exaggerating), but who cares?!  Age is only a number.  I am forever grateful to God that I was able to meet her on our Navajo mission trip early in the summer.  To say that I adore her is a huge understatement.

Two.


If you know me at all, you know that I love bread.  Ever since I was little, my dad and step mom always bought really good, special bread, not just plain ole white bread.  My favorite two kinds are both kinds that I bought this week: Jewish rye bread and pumpernickel, the darker the better.


Another favorite has been these cucumber sandwiches.  It's just the bread, plain cream cheese, cucumber slices and a little salt.

Yummo.

Three.


Reading has been my favorite thing to do all this week.  I've finished two books.  This one above is the best book I have ever read.  If you haven't bought it yet, go and buy it!  It is so good, you'll want to mark it all up.

I've also enjoyed reading this one on the top of the stack.


Fervent, by Priscilla Shirer.  So good!

And I've been rereading this series this summer for the third time, because they're my favorite fictional books.


The Sisterchicks series by Robin Jones Gunn.

I told you I've been lazy all week!

Four.


My husband's truck has been being worked on for a sweet forever and he's had my suburban all week, so I've driven Graham's Bronco and Drew's truck.  My favorite to drive other than mine is Drew's truck.  This was me on Wednesday, driving to Mom's for lunch.

Five.


 I think eating has been my favorite this week.  After all the heavy eating throughout the summer, I'm loving being able to eat all the fruits and veggies I want, and these cherries are another favorite.  I'm the only one that eats them, so I have to have some with almost every meal.

Six.


Another favorite moment from the week was this night at church.  This was the night the kids campers came home and we had an awesome worship service in the big sanctuary.  I might have teared up over all the kiddos worshiping.

I am so thankful for our church family.  I know, I say it all the time.

Thanks for reading!  Happy Friday to you and love to all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

a little of life after camp

After a very full summer, I have been soaking up the relaxation this week brought about.  I won't bore you with all the laundry details, but I am so thankful that every time I came home, I came home to a clean house.  Jonah and Noah (and Todd) did a great job of keeping up the house stuff while I was away, and I came home to beds that were made and clean floors.

That does my heart good, y'all.  I love coming home to a clean house.

Here's what's been going on since Saturday.

Todd worked that night, but the boys and I went to some friends' house for a little Navajo mini-reunion.


Marissa and her mom Belinda and brother, Cole, were all in town for a wedding, and we took advantage of her time her and planned this night.  I love this family so much!

I love Noah in the background, too.

We spent Sunday at church, then went out for lunch, then to Rack Room to buy new shoes for the boys.  After that the older two had to come home and pack up for half a week away at kids camp.


My friend Mary took this picture, but I couldn't find one of Drew.  This is their fifth year to go as counselors.  It looks like it's been a great week, and our new young families pastor has outdone himself.


I've been having really great quiet times each morning.  I love my journal that you see in this picture, and I love my bible that my dad and stepmom bought me for Christmas last year.

More than that, I love the word of God.  I am so thankful that I have it to live by.


I made a grocery trip and got some things.  My lunch this week has been cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches on pumpernickel bread.  They are so good and light, which is good, since it's eight hundred and thirty six degrees here all week.


I have been reading this book and am almost finished with it.  I have three chapters to go, then I might pick it up and read it again in the coming months.  It's all about relationships we as women have with other women.  Mentoring and discipleship are always on my brain, and this is a book all about how to go about that.  It is so good!  You should read it for yourself.


After my quiet time each morning, I've made myself breakfast (rye toast and orange juice) and gotten started with my bible study homework.  I'm studying the fruits of the Spirit, and the week I just finished was on joy.  I can't wait for next week, when it's on peace.

I've gotten out a time or two each day and then come home and put pajama's back on.  Apparently, I don't love regular clothes when it's a thousand degrees outside and prefer light and airy pj's.  On Monday, Jonah, Noah and I rented a couple movies~The Good Dinosaur and Kung Fu Panda 3.  I've read and read some more.  I've caught up on my favorite blogs.  And today, we are going to my mom's house for lunch.  This afternoon my older boys come home!  I'll meet them at church around dinner time.

Love to all!  Don't die in the heat.


Monday, July 18, 2016

High School Beach Camp

This summer has been such great fun!  Full of trips and ministry projects and new things, and I am so thankful to God for all that He has allowed me to do.  Also, I have the GREATEST family and friends in all of the land.  All glory to God for them, too, because only He knows how long I prayed for them.
This was my last trip before school starts (Notice I didn't say "last trip of the summer", because we go on our family vacation at the end of August!) and it was a grand time.  This was also my first time to Daytona Beach, Florida, and one thing I never got used to was seeing cars drive on the beach.  Seriously.  People would drive in the sand, park and lay out beside their parked cars.  Crazy!

It was a LOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGG drive there.


Missy and I were bus buddies and this was us before the misery of the seat situation and the seat belt sunk in.  I finally gave in and laid down on the actual floor of the bus and slept a good portion of the night.  I am too old for that, but I sure did sleep decently.  Missy, on the other hand, not so much.

We arrived at one thirty, had lunch, then everyone had free time while Missy and I picked up a rental car and groceries for the week at Sam's.  We got back and unloaded, left to get dinner and then went to the service.


DAVID PLATT WAS OUR SPEAKER.  He was every bit as amazing as you would assume.

After the service that night, we had small group time with our groups of students, and I had "my" girls, the ones who will be seniors in three short weeks.

This one and myself were roommates and shared a bed all week.  Thankfully, we were so exhausted each day that we didn't bother one another.


The next morning, we got up early for quiet time and breakfast, then headed to the convention center for morning worship.  We got to drive the rental car all week because we were in charge of all the food throughout the week.  We had to leave early to go meet the lady who was delivering lunch that day, then we ate, had small group time, then free time every day was from one to five thirty, when we would eat dinner.



The girls stayed on the beach, and I went out there a few times (three), then pretty much planted myself in the pool.



Worship each night was amazing!


On Tuesday and Thursday nights, the only place that would hold us all was our hallway.  There were thirty thousand extra people in the city of Daytona Beach last week, and a few of those thousands were in our hotel.




We played on the beach Tuesday and Thursday nights.


More worship service before pictures....


Where we ate all our meals outside.


Where I enjoyed quiet time every day.






We went out on the beach Thursday morning at seven thirty for group pictures.  I love these ladies and students so much!  I am so thankful that I get to serve alongside them all.  It's a joy and a privilege, also, to be able to pour into these students.  I love them all like they're my own, and I feel that we all came away from camp closer to God and to one another.


No words.  Just love for this one.  We were hot and sweaty.



Last night of worship and more sweet students.

And then, the bus ride home began bright and early Friday morning.  I slept the entire bus ride.  I'd wake up and get off, then fall right back to sleep.  Thank goodness for that, because that kept me from being so tired over the weekend.

Thanks for reading.  Love to all!

Friday, July 8, 2016

hope

Hope.  It's a word that I love.  "A feeling of expectation or desire for a certain thing to happen.  A feeling of trust."

I do not have hope in this crazy world that we live in, or in this country, and sadly, I do not have hope in people.  Especially because the bible tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that our hearts are desperately wicked.  Yours, mine, all hearts are this way.  

I always say to my sons about all of us, that we are wretched sinners.  There is nothing good that is in us.  But Jesus.  Because of the relationship with Him that I (they, you) have, His Holy Spirit is now abiding in me, and THAT is the only thing that is good about me.  It's not me, it's not what I've done, or what I plan on doing, it's not how I think, it's all HIM.  

And THAT is what and who my hope is in.  Jesus Christ.  

I know that this world that we live in is fallen.  It's crooked and depraved and it's only going to get worse, never better.  

But one day, and we don't know when, the Son of God is going to return for those who love and follow after and believe in Him.  On that day is when things will begin to look up. 

I don't say all this to be all doom and gloom, but we are kinda at that point, I feel.  Mankind will continually let us down, and though things might improve slightly, it won't last.  

A relationship with Jesus Christ will last for all of eternity.  Have you put all your faith and trust in Him yet?  I have and I'd love to talk to you about how to go about this, if you are not a follower of Him.  We do not know when we will breathe our last breath on this earth, so don't wait.  The time to act is now, don't keep putting it off.  

I am saddened by the chaos and turmoil that is in our world, in our country and sometimes even in our families and friends lives.  But I know that God is in control, He is sovereign and He has a perfect plan for us.  I am prayerful this morning, that if you don't know Him, that you will come to know Him.  I pray that He will draw you to Himself and turn you from the darkness into His glorious light.  
If you're reading this and you don't know Him, please don't hesitate.  I would be glad to talk more about this.  

In the meantime, I am leaving you with one of my very favorite verses in the bible, out of Hebrews 6:19.

This hope we have as an anchor for the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil...

I stop there, because the veil is indicative of Jesus going before us to God the Father.  When the Old Testament was written, only the priest could enter into that inner curtain or veil where the mercy seat was, or where God's presence was.  When Jesus died on the cross for our sin, that curtain was torn and there was no longer any need for an intercessor to go to God before us...Jesus became that for all of time and the bible says that He intercedes to God the Father on our behalf.  That is what the words "the veil" are talking about.  

One last verse that I love is from Psalm, and in light of all the chaos we are watching on the news, I love this reminder.


I am so thankful that I have Him as my refuge.  You can have that as well.  Don't wait.    

Love to all.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

holiday weekend

Amidst the piles of laundry from Street Reach on Saturday, I had some really quality Jesus time.  I love mornings when it's quiet in my house and it's just Jesus, me and some strong coffee.


On this particular morning, I issued a challenge to my girls, to read through Proverbs with me this month.  Thirty one days in July, thirty one chapters in the book of Proverbs.  Sounds perfect, right?

(Just for fun, I love these pens that you see.  They're Papermate Flair pens and they last forever.  No need to buy pricey pens on Amazon anymore, when these are just as good.)

Todd was in and out all of Saturday, and eventually, we ended up at my mom's house for dinner.  Graham and Drew were invited to a friend's lakehouse for the weekend and were having the time of their lives.  I am so thankful for their guy friends!  God answered that prayer of mine, and all the glory goes to Him.


See?  How much fun is this?  I relished those days when I was their age.

On Sunday, I had to be at church at nine in the morning for praise team practice.  Jonah and Noah just sat and napped in the sanctuary while we practiced.  There were no bible fellowship classes that day.  During the service, this happened.


This is a picture my friend Jessica posted on social media.  Our pastor called down all the veterans to the front of the sanctuary, and they lined the entire front.  I got so choked up during these moments, especially watching the elderly ones make their way down front.  I am so thankful for the ones who have fought for our freedom.

Our church service that day was not patriotic.  There's not much to celebrate about this country right now and the state that we are in with all the corruption around us, but it was a service of prayer and Scripture reading.  It was a wonderful service.

After church, we came home for a quick lunch, then went to a friend's house for a cookout and pool party!  That was only my second time of swimming all summer.


On Monday, we had a lazy morning.


 I drank coffee, I watched Hope Floats, and I did laundry and had a really good and long quiet time.

Then we went to another friend's house for a potluck.  They invited us and a lot of teenagers.


There was yummy food, zip lining, four wheeler riding (in the rain!) and fellowship.  It was a great afternoon and I am so thankful for our friends for having us out.

That night, though, I came home and put on pajama;s and watched the fireworks from inside.


I finished a book and started another.  (Which I finished this morning.)  It was loverly.

Hope y'all had a great weekend!  Love to all.