Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Favorites

Happy, happy Friday!  I am linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals for this post.  It's been a wonderful week!  Here are some of my favorite moments and things from this past week.

One.



On Saturday of last weekend, we attended the fundraiser of a family from our church.  They are going to Guatemala in just a few weeks and they had a lunch and square dance to help raise money.  We had jambalaya and the kids had a great time dancing.  My favorite person was there, and per usual, we had a great time together.  And yes, where Missy is, laughter is also present.  She cracks me up.  (I love you, my friend!)

My husband MIGHT have drug out Graham's friend girl to the dance floor and made her dance.  It's a good thing she loves us, because while he did that, I took pictures.

Two.


On Sunday at church, we had a Lord's Supper service.  This is probably my favorite kind of service at church that our pastor does.  It is always a big deal, since we only do this once a quarter, and it's always very reverent and moving.  I do not know how he does a different service for each time we partake in communion, but he does.  I have never sat through one of these services without crying.  I took this picture on Sunday while I was waiting to go up to choir.

Three.


My favorite mail day is a day when books come in from Amazon.  These little gems came in on Sunday and on Monday, they were both being read by my kids.

Four.


My favorite app on my phone right now is GoodReads.  If you are on this website, my username is Jennifer Goodwin.  This was my Tuesday picture from Instagram.  I had just completed my fifth book since January one.

Five.


The greatest and my most favorite thing that I do during the school week is going to our church and praying with my dear friend, Abbey.  I love this lady so much and I love, even more, her heart.  She is definitely my iron sharpening iron type of friend, and I pray that I am always that for her.  We glean so much from one another, and often times, we pray and discover that God has knitted our hearts together in a special way that week.  I cannot tell you how many times we've learned that we were praying for the same thing, or that we were asking God to do a specific thing that was similar to what the other was praying.

He is so good like that.

This picture above is so funny to me.  We have a shelf of lost and found items by our church offices, and Drew found this pretty sweater and wore it for a while we were there.  He cracks me up.

Six.


A favorite sight to behold is when I walk in a room to find this jumbled mess of pallets and blankets all over the floor.  It means my boys are not too old to want to sleep in the same room at night.  This was Drew, Jonah and Noah for most of this week.  I love how close they are!

Seven.


Another favorite thing of all is Scripture writing.  I have been doing this since November one and I am still going strong.  I printed off February's guide last night and I bought a new binder to put all the pages in.  I started in a journal, but I don't love the way the pages are bound together and it makes me write funny, so I redid all of January last night on the computer.  Since I typed out so many, I went ahead and typed out the rest of this month, and I will start fresh on notebook paper on Monday.

One last thing before I go, and that is a website I have recently come across, thanks to Abbey.  This website is called Revive Our Hearts.  Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an author and speaker, and she has a series of podcasts called Personal Petitions that I have been listening to.  I signed up to receive a lot of her emails for different areas of ministry and have thoroughly enjoyed reading and listening this week.  I wanted to encourage you to see for yourself, so click on the website's title in this paragraph, and the link will take you straight there.

Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

the books on my nightstand, January edition

After a hit and miss year of reading in 2015, and thanks to being addicted to shows on Netflix (Gilmore Girls, Call the Midwife, Parenthood), I made a vow to read more this year.  I kept a running note of books I read during the Christmas season (starting right before Thanksgiving and ending right before the new year), and the number of books I read was over ten.  I can't find the note on my phone, but it was at least that many.

I got the new year started off with a bang and went over my goal for the month.  Here are the books that I couldn't put down and that kept me up way too late at night.  (I have mentioned this before, but the fiction books I read are the ones written by Christian authors.  I have to keep it clean, or I don't want to read the book, no matter how great the review.  It's just a personal conviction of mine.)

One.

Blossom Street Brides, by Debbie Macomber.


Debbie Macomber isn't in the Christian fiction genre, but her books are clean and really good.  I've read almost all of the books she has written, and I started them when I was first married.  She now has a show on the Hallmark channel called Cedar Cove.  This book had some of the beloved characters from that series of books.

Two.

The Inn at Rose Harbor, by Debbie Macomber.


Three.

Rose Harbor in Bloom, by Debbie Macomber.


This is a new series she wrote in the last couple years or so, and they were both so good!  I couldn't put either one down.

Four.

Promise Me Always, by Christine Lynxweiler.


I found this one while I was at the library the last time, and I picked it out because she wrote a Christmas book that I loved.  This one was not that great, and I rushed through it to get to my next read that I had lined up.

Five.

At Home in Mitford, by Jan Karon.


I realize that I am late to this bandwagon, but wow!  It was worth the wait.  It took me a whole week and a half to make my way through this book, but it was almost five hundred pages long.  I finished it last night right after midnight, and I almost picked up the next one to read right away but figured I'd better go to sleep.  This is a sweet book, and the setting takes place in a town I'd love to live in, if it really existed.  I loved getting to know Father Tim and Barnabas, Dooley, Emma, Miss Sadie and Puny.  I can't wait to start the next one!

And because the thirty-first is still five days away, I started the sixth book for the month, which is A Light in the Window, by Jan Karon.


I'll probably include this one in next month's reading list, though, because I doubt I'll finish it in time.

I started a nonfiction book by Kelly Minter that I mentioned in my goals for January post at the beginning of the month, but I have not picked it back up.  I will most likely finish that either by the end of this week, or by the first week of February.  It bugs me having a book lying around that I haven't finished, but the ones I've been reading have been so good that I just kept right on with those.  I love to read a series of books, and already knowing what will come next.  I borrowed all these books from the library, which is my happy place, but they can all be found at my favorite shopping spot, also known as Amazon.

I hope this inspires you to read a great book!  Happy reading and love to all.

Monday, January 25, 2016

words


Words have been on my mind a lot lately.  The words I say, how I say them, the words others say, and how they have the ability to stir up one another to love and good works, like this verse above says, or how they might tear someone down.  I know there is a lesson in here for me somewhere, because this is what the Lord often does in my life.  It seems like sometimes He highlights words in my life.

One such word that I talked about last week was the word diligent, but this week's word is different.  It's words.

I love this bible verse.  I am a firm believer that we should speak life with our words, and that we need to show grace.  I suppose one reason I am considering this word is because last week, my two youngest boys felt as if someone had torn them down with words.

In facing these types of things in the past week, my kids have learned a good lesson, and I try to tell them daily how they can handle situations differently.  There was another situation that my older boys were involved in, and I challenged them to look differently than those around them, and to stop participating in conversations that weren't honoring to God or the person being talked about.

Again, another hard lesson, but one that has to do with words and how hurtful they can be or how life-giving or gracious they can be.

There is not a perfect person in our existence today.  There was One a couple thousand years ago, and He was the only perfect One to have ever walked on this earth.  That One is Jesus, and we are to be imitators of Him, leading a life that is an example to others, above reproach and set apart.  The older I get, the more aware I become of that and what that looks like.  One thing I told my boys lately is that we all need to look the opposite of those around me.  For instance, if I am hearing someone talk about someone that wouldn't honor God or that person, then I need to make a stand.  The bible tells us that we should speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

The bible also tells us that we should have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23).  We are told to put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, that we should forgive those we have complaints about and that above all, we are to put on love (Colossians 3:12-15).

Those are the kinds of words and behaviors that stir up one another to love and good works.

This picture that I found on the internet last week was a wonderful reminder for me, and for my family and how I can teach them.  I pray that it's helpful to you, as well.  Love to all.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Favorites!


It's F.R.I.D.A.Y. and it's a snow day!  Now listen, all you who make fun of us who lose our minds in snow~this is a big deal for us.  We rarely get snow, so of course our world stops when we get a dusting!  However, this is more than a dusting, it's actually up to three inches in some places.  It's so pretty!  I'm watching it fall as I write this blog post.

I am linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals for this post.

First up on my list of favorite things is the new nail polish I acquired last Saturday.  I usually wear all my dark colors in the fall and winter (except for Christmas, when I wear sparkly red), but when I saw this blue, I fell in love.  (My favorite blue had to be thrown away, from the Shrek line a long time ago.)  This one is called My Pal Joey, and the glittery one is Make Light Of The Situation.


The blue is from OPI's new Hello Kitty line.

Also making my list of favorites for the week are all the yummy dinners we have had.  On Saturday night, I made some delicious homemade chicken noodle soup for us to enjoy after church on Sunday afternoon.  On the list of dinners this week has been one of our family favorites, Beer Cheddar Joe's, potato soup and cornbread, and last night we had spaghetti and Fettuccini Alfredo with Ceasar salad and garlic bread.



My whole family almost fainted over the cornbread.  It was really good.  It still is!  I made extra to last all week.

So I know I'm late to jump onto this series of books, but better late than never, right?  I think I was in high school or a newlywed when this series of books first came out, and I picked up the first few at the library a couple weeks ago.  Actually, I bought them from a resale sight on Facebook and a friend picked them up for me, but I never got them from her.  I'm really hoping she still has them!


I'm about three fourths of the way finished with At Home In Mitford, by Jan Karon.  This is one of the sweetest books I have ever read.  I love the setting and all the characters and I can't wait to keep reading the rest of the series.  (About those nonfiction books, though....)  This is definitely going to end up being one of my favorite series of books I've ever read.

On Wednesday nights, I help out with our church's Children's Worship Choir (CWC).  And by "help out", I mean that I sign kids in and I watch to see who tries really hard and hand out candy and awards at the end of practice.  Each week we have been ending on a song called Dance Like David, and one of my most favorite things in all of the world is to see some really sweet little children dancing around, singing at the tops of their lungs, acting all crazy as a way of worshiping God.


Such a sweet sight to behold!  I love these kids and I love helping out a couple of my friends by being in there each week.  The kiddos are working towards a spring musical.

Yesterday was my favorite school day of the week, and I couldn't resist a picture of the historical chapel in the building of where we meet each week.


It's a really old building and the insulation leaves a lot to be desired, but man, I love coming here each week.  I love the ladies God has given me in my small group and in the large group as a whole.  (And about that insulation, we have been known to bring blankets to cover our laps with, it is sometimes so cold in Warren Hall, where we meet each week.)

In a moment of encouraging someone last night, I shared one of my favorite verses with someone who needed to hear it.


I love this translation, but other translations read, "Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth...".  Unwholesome talk can be words that do not build up.  I promise, I tell this verse to someone or I quote it for myself at least once every single day.

And because they're cute, I have to share this picture of my dogs that I just took.


Callie is in the front, Crash is in the back.  They were waiting so patiently on me to give them a treat for posing this way.  Aren't they sweet?  (Not always, but mostly.)

Well, that's about it for this post.  I must go empty out my dryer to get ready for the snow laden clothes that will be making their way back inside shortly.  Love to all!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

diligent

Do you ever feel like you keep reading or seeing or hearing a word over and over?  I have experienced this lately with the word 'diligent'.

The meaning of diligent, according to Merriam Webster is this:

"characterized by steady, earnest and energetic effort".

It also means working hard and carefully at something.

When I say that this word keeps popping up in my life, I truly mean that.  Just yesterday in my scripture writing, I saw the same word in the passage for that day.  I'll just write it out for you.

"Love must be without hypocrisy.  Detest evil; cling to what is good.  Show family affection to one another with brotherly love.  Outdo one another in showing honor.  Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.  Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.  Be in agreement with one another.  Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble.  Do not be wise in your own estimation."  Romans 12:9-16

And all this has made me wonder what I am diligent in.  Is there a reason why this word keeps coming to my attention?  I do believe that's true, nothing happens by sheer coincidence.  So yesterday I wrote the word down in my journal after praying about it and asking God to show me why He keeps having me notice it.  I don't know the answer yet, but I know that I am praying and I am reading God's word, and I long for more and more of Him.  And maybe that's the answer.  I have sensed a change in things lately, like the fact that I need to be more mindful of time and how I spend my days.  I ask God all the time to make me a good steward of my time as I study His word, as I teach my kids, as I spend time with my family, with friends, with teenagers.

I really don't have a purpose in writing this today, it's just what is on my heart and in my journal.


It's also how I am praying right now~I've asked God to make me diligent in prayer as well, because how often do I talk about things without praying?  

This is all just something to think about.  Love to all.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Momfessional Moments


I'm linking up with Momfessionals for this show and tell Tuesday post.  I have already laughed over some of these blogs and how the moms are telling on themselves in their parenting moments.  We've all done crazy things, right?  I thought I would share a few of my own "mom of the year" moments.

1.  When the boys were a lot younger than they are now, Todd and I would wait until they all went to bed and would make a package of chocolate chip cookies.  And then eat almost the entire thing alone.  :)  It's a wonder they never came back down to see what the yummy smell was.

2.  I have never been a bedtime routine mom.  I always tucked the kids in when they were little, and if asked to, I would read them a bedtime story, but they rarely asked.  I still say goodnight to them, but nowadays, it's more like they come in to say goodnight to me.

3.  I have been known to hide in the bathroom.  Or in my car, talking on my phone.

4.  Sometimes I don't always answer their thousand questions a day.  I get asked some crazy things, and if the question is something I think is obvious, I pretend I don't hear.  Let's face it: they need to just figure out some things on their own.

5.  I make them empty the dishwasher full of clean dishes because that is my least favorite job.

6.  I don't clean their bathroom because, (1) boys, and (2) gross.  That is one of their jobs.

7.  I don't really "do" breakfast.  Every once in a blue moon I will actually make something, but none of the boys are huge breakfast eaters.  Jonah is happy with cheese-its and a glass of chocolate milk.  On the days when I do make something (biscuits, cinnamon rolls, pancakes, eggs), it doesn't get eaten with much enthusiasm.  We are big on toast, oatmeal, grits and cereal for breakfast over here, and they all make their own.

8.  Part of the reason they are able to fend for themselves for breakfast and lunch is because sometimes I am just lazy.  Or busy.  On weekdays, I do my bible study homework while they do their school work.  I am usually wrapping up the homework by noon, so if they get hungry before that, they'll make lunch for themselves.  A lot of days for lunch, I do actually make something hot for them.  That is one of their favorite things about being homeschooled~the good lunches they're able to have every day.  It's almost always something hot.  My kids have never been sandwich and chips kids, unless it's a deli sandwich worthy of Subway.

9.  I hate puppies.  I think they're cute to look at, but I am totally indifferent to them.  Callie is pretty and she's mostly sweet, but she gets on my nerves.  I have zero patience with them.  This could be just because she's not Andy, the most wonderful dog to have ever lived.  I told Todd yesterday that I want our next dog to be a lab, and I want his name to be Barnabas.  (I just started reading At Home In Mitford.)  I also prefer male dogs to female dogs.  (Gosh, that could be said of humans too.)  I do think Callie will be smart someday, she is just not yet.  One day I was calling her name while painting my nails in the downstairs bathroom (with the door open) and she kept circling the entire downstairs looking for me, for a good five minutes, until she finally found me.

10.  Sometimes I text my kids to get them to do something.

11.  As much as I love to read, my boys HATE to read.  Every once in a while, one of them will pick up a book and devour it, but that's not often.  Currently, I have three engrossed in books.  One that they're reading is for school, the other is for pleasure.

12.  I don't think I'm a good homeschool mom.  I mean, I am motivated, and I have great ideas and we get things done, but most days I stink at this whole gig.  My boys are great at staying on task and they're great at finishing their work.  I feel as if I am easily sidetracked.  That being said, I do still love to homeschool them.  I don't really "homeschool" them, though.  They are motivated to work on their own, and they rarely need my help.  We have videos they watch for math, and I will help when they need me, but as they get older, they get even better at working on their own.  The good thing is that I can trust them in this.  They have integrity and they can be honest and tell me when they just need to look up the answer for something to see if they've gotten it right (Graham).

Have I told on myself enough?  I surely do NOT have it all together.  Some days I wonder how in the world we made it this far and how they've all turned out so normal.  Although that is debatable on most days.  Have you met Drew and Noah?

Happy Tuesday to you, and love to all.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!  I am linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals for this post.

This week has been very quiet around here.  It's been really good, just quiet, as we settled back into our routine.  I've been stressing a little about homeschooling and have had the thought that I need to change things up a tiny bit, so that is what I did all this morning.  (It's 9:36 as I write this.)  I feel better now, having made some changes on our grade and attendance reporting website.  I also reported grades for this first semester of the school year, and I ordered a new literature book for Graham and Drew.

I let the boys sleep in some, because they were all up super early yesterday morning and the morning before that.  They've been really great this week at getting up earlier than usual and having quiet time.  I am proud of them.

My first favorite highlight from this week is Noah talking to me about a passage he read on Tuesday morning.  He came downstairs talking about it and asked if he could use my bible to read what he had just finished reading in Philippians chapter four.


I love when something "clicks" for them in the pages of their bibles.  And I am proud of them for reading God's word~I didn't really do that much at all when I was younger, and I don't want them to be like me in that area, so I have taught them to make this a priority each day.  Some weeks they do great at this, others, not so much.  It's a constant ebb and flow, as they are kids, and I don't expect perfection.

Another favorite from this week was this picture that Jonah and Noah allowed me to take of them...a rare thing!


Twins twinning.  This was how they had dressed for the championship bowl game on Monday night.  And yes, those are the hoverboard things they got for Christmas, and no, they have not exploded.

(They only catch on fire when you leave them charging for too long, it only takes an hour and a half to two hours to charge them.  The cases of them catching fire was when they'd been left charging all night long.)

Back to my favorite picture from this week, though, I cannot believe they're almost thirteen!  The days are long when they're little, but the years are short.


On Tuesday afternoon, I had to be somewhere at eleven, so before that I had Drew drive and drop me off at the entrances to all the places I needed to go.  This was a favorite moment of mine this week, because I realized that before long, I will be seeing less and less of him.  Since Graham got his driver's license, he is always off, doing something, and I know it will be the same way for Drew.  He has matured a lot in the last year, and his driving skills have improved greatly.  (GREATLY.)

A favorite picture that I saw on my friend's Instagram this week was of this sweet child.


This is my best friend Christa's little girl.  Is this not the perfect picture?  She is absolutely precious.


And last, but not least, is my favorite moment from yesterday.  We had gotten home from our homeschool group and were all exhausted.  We came home to eat lunch and then fell asleep watching a show on the Velocity channel.  I woke up first and snapped this before I woke them up to leave.

It's been a great week!  I hope yours has been as well.  Love to all!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Life Lately

Here's what we've been up to lately, starting with last Friday.


On Friday last week, my mom called me.  She sounded awful and was dizzy and needed to go to the doctor, so I threw on clothes and makeup and drove out to her house in the country to pick her up and take her to the doctor.  I am so thankful that I stay at home, so that I can do things like this.  I pray that I can be half the daughter to her that she was to her sweet mom, who had dementia.  Mom was such an excellent caregiver for Mammaw, and I might have cried a tiny bit as I thought of that while she was in with the doctor.  Turns out Mom had a bad sinus infection and was prescribed some medicine.  While we waited on the prescriptions to be filled, she wanted to go to this little place on our town square.  She was craving some of their soup, so this is where we ate.  I love the little house that houses the restaurant, and I love the view of our square out these windows.


On Friday night, these cuties and Emma's parents and another sweet couple from church all went to the Grizzlies game.  This was Graham's and Drew's Christmas present from the girls, and along with the tickets, they got Grizzlies tee shirts.  Aren't they so cute?  Man.  I don't know how these guys got such beautiful (outside AND inside) girls to like them!  ;)  While they were gone, Todd, Jonah, Noah and me went to Cajun Catfish for a yummy dinner.  Todd ended up going to work that night after dinner, and the littles and I ran something over to Missy's house, then came home so their friend could spend the night.


I spent a good part of Saturday finishing this book.  I have been on a crazy reading kick lately and am halfway through my fourth book since January one.  We had a very lazy Saturday, thanks to the rain and the opportunity we had to do nothing all day.


On Saturday night, all the boys went somewhere.  Three of them babysat our friends' kids, and Graham went to Rachel's house.  So Toddley and I had a date night and I requested sushi at O'Saka.  It was delicious.  


Sunday was church!  I will say it a million times: I love my church family!  We sang a good bit of my favorite songs in choir, we said goodbye to our amazing worship leader (he took a position at a new church in Oklahoma), we had lunch with friends at their house, and we had youth events.  The middle school youth went to a new trampoline park called Get Air, and we had community group.  While the groups met, I wrote out my scripture writing passage for that day, I planned out our week in my planner, and I read this book.  (I finished that other one on Saturday.)


On Monday, the boys (minus Noah) did their school work for the day, and I did all of my Daniel bible study homework for this week.  Afterward, my brain hurt.  This study is amazing, but it is intense.  Also on Monday was the televised football game that is more important to my family than the super bowl.  Alabama is their team (and mine) and they were in the bowl and won 45 to 40.  Roll Tide!


Yesterday was another day of school work.  We all went up to the church so that I could meet with my friend Abbey to pray, then they all went out to lunch with the youth pastors.  I came home to eat leftover chili, and I looked forward to starting this study with a group of ladies at church last night.  Missy came over to eat dinner with me before we went, then we rode together to the church.

So far it's been a wonderful week!  I hope yours has been as well.  Love to all!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

a walk down memory lane

I saw a picture on Facebook last night that was of our mission trip to Iceland that Todd and I went on almost six years ago, and it got me reminiscing about the people we went with and what all took place.  I thought I would share a little of that trip with y'all, since I don't think I ever did that.

This is the only mission trip that Todd and I have ever been on, and I remember him texting me in church one Sunday to tell me that he would really like for us to go on this trip, and to pray about it.  Then just a couple weeks later, he got a text from his friend saying that someone anonymous had given us each three hundred dollars in the church office, to apply towards our trip.

It seemed like that was the open door that God provided for us, and we began to prepare to raise funds for the rest of the amount.

We went with a handful of other people, but the leader of the trip was from the church staff and a good friend of Todd's.  Eddie had meetings with us and prepared us for what would or could possibly take place while we were gone, and from that first meeting and for all of the rest, it was planned out and organized and he was challenging us to prepare our hearts for what might lie ahead.  (As far as the planning, it was about as planned as you could get with a mission trip.  He did say that lots of unexpected things usually ended up happening.)

A few weeks before we left, however, a volcano started erupting over there.  You might remember it?  The name is so long and so hard to pronounce, that newscasters referred to the volcano as E15.  It started erupting and pretty much didn't stop.  It was still erupting a bit when we left to go over to Iceland, and because of that, the course of our trip changed.  Originally we were going to be in or new Reykjavik (pronounced Ray-ka-vick), working on a camp ground that is used for conventions, scouts and such.  When the volcano started erupting, our plan was foiled and a new one had to be made.  We didn't really know what that was until just a few days before we left, and that was that when we got there, we would spend one night in Reykjavik and the next day we would take a (FOUR HOUR) ferry ride over to Vestmannaeyjaer (pronounced Vest-man-ay-a), or more commonly known as the Westman Islands.  (You should Google that at this point, it was absolutely gorgeous.)

We flew from Memphis to Boston, then from Boston into Keflavik.  We met our missionaries that were going to be with us the entire trip, Mike and Sheila Fitzgerald, and immediately, our hearts were threaded together with these amazing people.  I love how that happens with some of God's people...have you ever had that instant connection with a like-minded believer?

Mike drove us around to show off his beautiful city a bit, then we settled into a bed and breakfast type hotel to stay the night.  Our first dinner was....I can't remember, but I'm pretty sure lamb was in it.  We ate a lot of lamb.  It might have been Chinese food, actually.  I learned to love an orange flavored drink that was like their Coke, called Applesin.  (Diet Coke is not an Icelandic thing...or, if you see it, know that it is NOT the same at all.)  And I learned to just eat what was given me.  There is no complaining on mission trips!

We ferried over to Vestmannaeyjar, and I was so sick...the North Atlantic Ocean was so rough that day, and most of us were terribly sick.  I had to lay down in a bunk bed the entire time, and this amazing lady (Mrs. Carolyn, Eddie's mom) took care of those of us who couldn't move from our beds, including Sheila, the missionary's wife.  I am telling you, they said the ocean was worse than it had ever been...I was sick before we even left the rock-lined inlet where the ferry was docked.


We finally arrived on the island (which was home to the whale Keiko from the movie, Free Willy) and met a pastor and his family of a small church on the island.  The island population is very small, but absolutely breathtaking, and we immediately felt that heart connection with Gudni and his wife, Gudbjorg.


Left to right are Gudbjorg, Karl (their son), Gudni, Toddley and me.

When we got there, they were about to have a church service, so we joined them for that, then because the sun never really sets in the summer months, we took a walk around town at midnight.  Here's a picture of the island from when we first arrived, and below that is a picture of where we took our midnight stroll.




Everything was so beautiful, it almost looked like something out of a Disney movie.  We stayed at the church we attended that first night for the whole time we were there, and we met the most amazing people.  Our job, once we got there, was to hand out these videos that were about Jesus, in their own language, and to just encourage the people of that village.  The mindsets of the people were downcast, and very few of them actually have a relationship with God.  We prayed with several people, and lots of cool things happened while we were there that only God could have done.

One neat thing that happened to me was that I was asked to sing in one of the church services, but what in the world does one sing, while in Iceland and not prepared?  (I need to stop here and say that our leader, Eddie, had told us to live with no regrets while we were there, and to try not to say the word no, when presented with an opportunity.  Though I am not one who normally sings alone in church, because of what Eddie challenged us with, I said yes to singing.  Even though that is WAY out of my comfort zone, because I feel I'm best in a group.)  So, in talking with the band that morning before church, they told me they knew and loved the song Amazing Grace.  I gave a brief testimony (with an interpreter) before I sang, then I sang the song.  I tried to not look at anyone while I sang, but I kept noticing one lady in the back who was sobbing the entire time the song was playing.  I later found out that her husband had recently died and that was his very favorite song, and she said she felt the Lord's presence with her comforting her in her grief the entire time I sang.

Wow.  Talk about humbling.  What if I'd said no to singing?

Here are a few more pictures from our time on Vestmannaeyjar.


This mountain side pictured above is where their native birds, the puffin, burrow.


In this picture above, that little puff of white toward the top right of this picture (looks like a cloud) is smoke from where that volcano was still erupting.


On our last day there, we hiked up a volcano that had erupted on this island back in the 60's.  This cross was something the people put up to memorialize what had happened and to celebrate that they were able to return to their beloved island.  Though this volcano had erupted back in the 60's, smoke was still coming out of some of the crevices near the top and when Todd put a piece of paper over once such spot, it immediately caught fire.


The boys.  And yes, it was fifty something degrees and my husband was in short sleeves.  Story of my life.


Underwater earthquakes had caused tectonic plates to shift and that is the bumpy line you see that goes off into the ocean.

We ferried back over to Reykjavik and toured around a little more for one last night.


Todd and Eddie were a bit giddy over the fact that they were drinking the first diet coke they'd had in almost one whole week.

We got to go to The Blue Lagoon, and yes, I swam in its supposed healing waters.



Usually the water is more blue, but on this day it was milk colored.  It felt amazing, and so did the dirt in the bottom of the pools.  (This was only in the entrance.)  I have sensitive skin that is easily irritated, so Sheila told me I should rub it all over.  It felt amazing, and I'm pretty sure that afterward, my skin had never felt so soft.

It was an amazing trip, and I cried in saying goodbye to everyone that we'd met.

In leaving Iceland, we flew over Greenland!


It's so ironic that Iceland is green and Greenland is ice.  God's creation is something else.

It was an amazing ten days filled with story after story of things that God did either for one of us on the trip, or for someone else that God used us to minister to while there.  We formed lifetime friendships with some amazing people (whom we are friends with and get to "see" all the time, thanks to social media!), I got to try really cool new things, and I learned to trust God above all else, when things go a little haywire with our earthly plans.

I hope you enjoyed reading about this as much as I enjoyed writing about it.  It was a little lengthy, and I even left out a bunch of pictures.  I could go on and on about this all day.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.



Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals , and friends, for this blog post.  We've had a great week around ...