Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals (and friends) for this post.

This time last week, I was waking up in the country.

A dear and sweet teenager invited Missy and I to spend the night at her house, while her parents and sister were out of town.  We chose Thursday night and had a blast.  We ate dinner together, then went back to her house to watch Father of the Bride and to talk.  We finally fell asleep sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, but for Rachel and I, it was close to two a.m.  Poor Missy was up and couldn't sleep, looking at the clock for one last time and three something.

It was a long day, and later on that day when we were alone in the living room watching television for noise, basically, we both took naps.   I am NOT a night owl at all, and usually go to bed before ten and am up sometime in the six o'clock hour.

Also?  Those views in the country are one of my favorite things.

In light of all the sadness taking place in our country and this world right now, this has been one of my favorite verses to cling to.  I mentioned to several people this week, and on this blog, how thankful I am for the hope I have in Jesus Christ.  Things are pretty bleak without Him, and I don't know what people do who don't know Him.  Well, actually, I do know what they do~they walk around pretty fearful and miserable.  If you want to know more about this, please reach out to me in the comments, and I will send you my email address and we can talk more privately.

Reading has been a favorite past time for me this week.  I finished one book, and I'm reading three other ones right now.  I know this is a huge problem for some people, but honestly for me, it's not, at least at this moment.  The books are all VASTLY different, and I am easily able to switch back and forth.  Two of the books are so deep and good that I like to go slow with them and then give myself a break with something lighter.  I am loving this fictional book by Beth Moore, The Undoing of Saint Silvanus.  I started back in the spring and never finished it.  I'm almost halfway through it.

Another favorite thing of mine is what's in my cup.  We made a Costco run last week and bought some more K cups for our Keurig.  I've missed having them!  I love our Keurig and will often make a cup midday just because I love coffee so much.

My favorite babies in all the world turned seven months old this week!  Kinsley and Kylie are getting so big and are going to start crawling any day now.  I love them so much!  I just look at this picture and smile so big.  I am so glad they are coming home for Thanksgiving this year, and cannot wait for my family to meet them.

I mean, that smile on Kylie's face.  I can't stop staring.

(These are my great nieces.)

One of my favorite things is starting a new journal.  I was out of my current journal and went to Target yesterday to buy a new one.  I stood in the aisle for THIRTY MINUTES looking at them, before I finally picked this one.  I disliked it the least out of all the others I looked at.  I take into consideration the paper and how thick or thin it is (I prefer thick paper), how wide or narrow each line is (I prefer college ruled), and whether or not the pages are perforated (I prefer for them not to be).  I will make it work and will finish using it, but the next time I'm either going to Lifeway or to Barnes and Noble.

Best and favorite picture ever.  I look at this and wonder where in the world all the years went.  I posted this to Instagram last night after two of them were arguing over why a certain picture frame in the hall fell.  That was going on, and the other one was sliding down the stairs on his stomach because he drank coffee at night and it made him hyper.

Oh, they're fun.  I do love them so.  I would love to go back to this spot and recreate this picture.

Well, laundry and house cleaning are calling my name, so I need to run.  Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Church of the Small Things, by Melanie Shankle

Several weeks ago, I was picked to be on the launch team for Melanie Shankle's newest book, Church of the Small Things.  I have been a reader of the Big Mama Blog (her blog) for years now, and when she started writing books, I was thrilled.  Nobody makes me laugh like Melanie Shankle.

Her first three books were, The Antelope in the Living Room, Sparkly Green Earrings, Nobody's Cuter Than You, and this one that has yet to release.  This latest one releases on October 3, but you can pre-order it now for some great deals and coupon codes.  To read more about that, go here.

This is my blog tour day (actually, I don't know if it is or not, I cannot remember the day I signed up for) and I thought I'd share a few quotes I loved from the book.

This was a theme throughout the book.  Something I loved reading in this book was the encouragement to look for the opportunities that God has for us in the everyday, ordinary life moments.  For instance, I have always kinda been envious of people that have obvious ministries in their life.  That's not something I really felt like I had until I read this book.  Sure I know that being a wife and mom can be that, but I couldn't help but wonder if there was something more.

While I was reading this book, the Lord was so sweet to show me a huge ministry that I have in my life, and it's so ordinary, that I have overlooked it for a long time.  That is that people come into my home all the time.  It can be teenagers who are either friends of my kids, or who I help lead and disciple.  My boys love having people over, and I love to welcome them in.  This means that I usually have a stocked pantry and refrigerator.  I want them to come in and to feel totally welcome here.  Sometimes they all go upstairs right away, or sometimes they hang out here with me.  I also have friends who come over pretty often, and who know they're always welcome.

This quote is probably one of my favorites from the entire book.  I love this because of where God has me right now: as a homemaker, homeschooling mom.  I know that God uses me in these everyday, mundane moments, and for that, I am thankful.

This was a book that made me laugh out loud, made me cry, and made me utter a prayer for the Lord to open my eyes to what or who is around me.

I loved every single page, and want to encourage you to read it for yourself.  You can go to the website that I gave a link to above, or you can pre-order on any of your favorite book selling websites.

Love to all.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

some music I love right now

These times we are living in right now are not for the faint of heart.  My heart aches over the fact of how broken we are as a country, and for how far we have strayed from God.  How His heart must grieve. 

When going through times like these, I am so thankful that Jesus is my hope.  I cannot imagine what people who don't know Him do without His presence in their lives.  I literally could not get through even one day without Him.  One thing I know: God is sovereign.  He is in control.  We can trust Him.  And someday, He will return for His bride (that's us believers, and His church).  

Until then, I cling to His word.  I pray.  I praise.   Music helps.  

That being said, here are some songs I love right now.

I love mashups of songs, and this one is currently in the number one spot.  This is Caleb and Kelsey Grimm.  Caleb is one of the members of Anthem Lights.  

What a beautiful name it is, the name of Jesus.

Next up is this song by Tauren Wells, Hills and Valleys.  I cannot listen to this without my eyes welling up with tears.  

I love the line, "On the mountains, I will bow my life to the One Who set me there."  I always pray and ask that the Lord would help me to walk in submission to His authority in my life.  This song is another reminder that the Lord is good, when He gives good things to us, and even when He takes away from us.  He is sovereign.  I keep mentioning that, but it's a truth that resounds in my heart right now.

I love this version of the song Holy Spirit by one of my favorite singers of all, Travis Cottrell.

This song moves me every single time I hear it, and I have witnessed the presence of the Holy Spirit deal with someone as they listened to the lyrics.  He is powerful and His presence can often times be felt.  

These are just a few of my favorites right now.  I always have music playing, whether on the radio, on a CD, or on Spotify.  I can't think of anything better I'd rather be listening to than some music that will lead me into the presence of the Lord.  

How desperately we need You, Lord Jesus.  


Thursday, August 10, 2017

a time of refreshing

My friend Missy and I went to a nearby church last night to hear Jim Cymbala speak.  I don't know what I was expecting, but what last night ended up being wasn't what I thought it'd be.  I had kinda gotten out of the mood of going to the service, even though I knew it'd be good, but life happens, and I ended up feeling frustrated and kinda tired/defeated by the time rolled around that Missy said she'd come and get me.

It was a bit of the same for her.  She had someone come to her house, and they ended up sitting there talking the whole time, and when she came to get me, she had run out of time and hadn't eaten dinner.   Plus, her son and his wife were coming over.  We even joked about just going back to one of our houses to watch it via the live stream that Bellevue said would be available.  But we kept going, realizing that if both of us were feeling like we didn't want to go, that we should go, because that meant the enemy didn't want us there.

I'm so glad she's so stubborn.  ;)

Also, the whole way there, we talked, I cried a little, and by the time we arrived at Bellevue thirty minutes later, I was already feeling lighter.  Sometimes I just need to be reassured that my kids aren't the only ones who sometimes make me feel crazy.  (More about that in a different blog post.)

We were a few minutes late, because we went to a wrong building at our first attempt to go in, and by the time we parked and hiked to the church (it is HUGE), the music had started.  This was so refreshing for me to sit and be a part of.  Usually I'm one of the ones helping lead in worship, either in the choir, or on a praise team down front.  I love doing both of those, by the way, and am honored to be able to serve in that way, but sometimes it's so nice to just participate.

The time of praise and worship was wonderful.  The presence of the Lord was already so evident, but it just kept getting better as the night went on.  When Jim came up to speak, he spoke on prayer, which is one thing he is passionate about.  The Brooklyn Tabernacle is known not just for their choir and his wife who leads them, but for their Tuesday night prayer meeting.  He spoke for a little while, and then we just started praying.

In looking on YouTube this morning for a testimony of a man he shared about, I came across this.  This is so close to what he said last night, and if you have the time, listen to it.  It's only about five minutes long.


The reason I'm even going on and on about this is because I have been struggling with having a consistent quiet time lately.  I've been reading in my bible most days, but I've been neglecting the prayer portion.  I wrote about my notebook a week or so ago, mentioning this, but things never really got any better after that post.  Part of the issue has just been me.  I've been up too late, not sleeping enough, and I've been waking up already tired.  Partly it's laziness I'm experiencing.  Some days it literally feels like I am in a rut, and I can't get out.  It could be because I've taken on some of the burden one of my kids has been carrying.

I went in last night having no idea that he would be speaking on prayer, and not even really knowing how much I needed to hear (and then experience) about that topic.  It is no coincidence, though, I will tell you that much.  God knew, and of course the whole night was exactly what I needed to hear.  He is so very faithful, though, and He knows our hearts, and He listens when we pour out our hearts to Him.  I guess I write this to encourage someone.  If you're feeling discouraged or let down, or frustrated at all, then I want to encourage you to pour it out to God.  He already knows, but the confessing it to Him is what makes the difference.  It's like He takes all that is weighing down our hearts and puts it onto Himself.  He truly does lift every burden.

If you are a part of my family, then know that I prayed for you last night.  God hears the cries of our hearts.  I trust Him with all that I prayed for, and I believe that He will answer accordingly.   I believe a time of refreshing is coming your way, so keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.

Love to all.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

things I'm looking forward to

I'll start with tonight.  I found out last week that the preacher of the Brooklyn Tabernacle church in New York City will be at Bellevue tonight preaching for their Awesome August that they have every year.  I am so excited!  I love this man, and even more than his preaching, I love his heart for the Lord and for others.  I am going with my bestie and am also looking forward to a whole hour of driving (30 minutes there and back) and catching up.

Just for fun, here is The Brooklyn Tabernacle church in Brooklyn, NYC.  I will never forget being there, or that trip that we took last October.  We had to get up so early to be there, and were concerned about our timing, but before we left that morning, I asked the Lord to work out all the details and the timing for us to make it in time.  We took the train into the city, switched over to the subway once in the city, and then got off at the Brooklyn stop.  We were walking up the church, and were about to get in the long line of people waiting to get in, when one of the security men stopped us and started motioning us inside.  We skipped the whole waiting in line portion!  How cool of God to do that for us, while we were there?!

That is just ONE teeny little God thing that has happened to me over the years.

Anyway, I'm really excited about going to church to hear Jim Cymbala preach again.

I can't wait to (hopefully) be able to see the eclipse!

We are traveling to go see this, and I really hope it all works out and that we're able to see the eclipse.  We are going to (near) Nashville to spend a night with Todd's brother, his wife, and their family for this, and then we'll drive somewhere to watch the next day.

(Thank you, Google, for your images.)

I'm really excited about a week in September that my family will be vacationing.  We are going to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and I am SO looking forward to a week of relaxing and eating fresh seafood.  Also, in almost twenty one years, I can count on one hand how many times we have vacationed at the beach.  I think it's about two times.  Honestly, the majority of us prefer mountains and lakes to beaches, but every once in a while, I think it's fun.  I have also always wanted to go to South Carolina, so I'm excited about that, too.

And speaking of mountains and lakes...

We go camping every fall, usually in October sometime, and I am looking forward to this as well.  We may change things up a little this year, and do something different for our annual camping trip this time around.  I know that camping isn't for everyone, but it's been one of the greatest things we started doing as a family about seven years ago.  There is something so sweet about being in the outdoors when it's cool outside, and when cooking over a campfire is involved.  I can hardly wait for our trip this year.

Aside from these things, I am looking forward to many other things that are just everyday little things like being back in choir practice on Sunday's, studying the bible with a group of teenage girls, fall weather and cool nights, church events coming up soon for the cooler temps, the upcoming holidays.  I try to enjoy every phase of life that we're in, but I can't help but look forward at what is to come.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Also, Happy Anniversary to my precious in-love's, Phyllis and Wiley.  Today is their FORTY-EIGHTH wedding anniversary!  That is so awesome and inspiring.

Family photo from the early 80's, and one more recent that perfectly depicts them and their personalities.  We spend the majority of our time together laughing over the most ridiculous of things!  They're so much fun to be with.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Simply Tuesday

I love the thought of that title, and it's a wonderful book written by Emily Freeman, but I still haven't finished it.  And may I just talk of books for a few minutes?  I haven't finished that one I just mentioned, and I haven't yet finished the one I'm on a launch team for, Church of the Small Things by Melanie Shankle.  I only have one or two more chapters, though, and I still love it.

Funny story (not really, but it's true): last night I was so grumpy.  It happens periodically.  ;)  It dawned on me last night, that I had never gotten around to having my quiet time yesterday morning.  The grocery store trip I was planning took precedence over my normal morning routine, and it just never happened.  I finally realized that last night, and I got up to have my quiet time after eight o'clock.  Life just happens that way, sometimes, and when it does, I try to not beat myself up over an abnormal daily routine.

So, this was me, at night, finally spending time in my bible.  Better later than never, right?  I wrote out two days worth of scripture writing (I usually miss every Sunday), and then I spent time reading Psalm 51, and writing out a page worth of praises to God from that Psalm.  It's one of my favorite books in the entire bible, and I visit it often, especially when I'm confessing things to Him in prayer.  As soon as I'm done with this post, I'm going to go do more of this.  I did pray this morning, first thing, but then I started making breakfast in shifts for people in my house.  (First for Drew, then for Todd and Graham.  Jonah and Noah are still asleep.)

I have three other books waiting on me to read them.  I need to put my phone down more and pick up my book instead.  Maybe then I'll finish.  I'm not reading anything fiction as of right now, and it is driving me a little crazy.  I know that probably makes some of you cringe, but it's true~if I read a nonfiction book, I like to have a fiction one going at the same time.  I need mindless in the afternoons, when the caffeine lull hits.  I keep failing at the whole library thing, and picking duds.

We are currently trying a new kind of coffee, and it is delicious.  We are coffee snobs, and always buy whole beans, and then grind them at the store after we make our purchase.  (At Costco.)  We are not making a Costco run this week, though, and I was needing to buy coffee at the grocery store yesterday, though, so I decided to give this one a try when I stumbled across it at Kroger.

I love coffee.  We all do, actually, the six of us.

I have been looking forward to this day for a week.  Sometime after lunch, we will go see my in-love's and spend the remainder of our day there.  (Along with the dogs, of course.)  Most likely we will swim when I get there, then we'll eat dinner, and we might go back to the pool afterward.  It's been forever, it seems, since we've seen them, and we missed our weekly visits, because Phyllis was sick.  I'm glad she's finally better, because I've missed her!

I love taking the dogs with us to places, and more than I love it, they do.  When we start packing up their things like their food and the leashes, they realize what's about to happen and start panting and jumping up and down.  It's precious.  Who would have thought I'd love dogs this much?  Not me.  I hate their hair that dirties my floor, but even all the hair is worth the joy they bring.  (Remind me of this the next time Crash does something bad.)

Speaking of him doing something bad, yesterday morning when Todd came downstairs, I found him looking intently at the dining room table.  I asked him what he was looking at, then he had me come in there to see for myself.  We were looking at dog paw prints, y'all.  I am not even kidding.  Not the cat, but the dog.  Which one, you wonder?  Crash.  I promise you, Crash's name is literally all over the table, just about.  Probably what happened, we are guessing, is that he jumped on the table to have a better view out the dining room windows, where the bushes are.

He hasn't confessed to it yet, but I think he's guilty.

I have seriously thought of writing a children's book based upon his bad behavior.

I'm not sure how I stretched three things to talk about into an entire blog post, but I am officially out of things to say, and I need to get started on this day.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Monday, August 7, 2017

the weekend and back to school

For lots of my kids friends, this was their last weekend of summer.  I talked about how I have mixed feelings regarding this time of year, and I'm a little sad about it all today.  Because we homeschool, we usually start one week later than the public schools.  I like having a week reserved for going through all our books and curriculum, and I try to get it all organized and the house put back in order from a summer of coming and going.

Drew does have one class tomorrow, that he is taking away from home this year, and it starts tomorrow.  Part of his day today will be spent preparing for that, and my day will consist of laundry, cleaning, sorting/organizing (hopefully), vacuuming, and grocery shopping.

I love grocery shopping on a Monday, once school starts back!  Nobody is ever there, hardly.

This weekend, we had fun going to my mom's and stepdad's on Friday night for dinner.  It was just Jonah, Noah, and me, because Todd was working, Graham was on a fun college group trip, and Drew was eating Mexican food with friends in Memphis.

I love walking around their house and admiring their beautiful flower beds.  I found a gorgeous hydrangea bush in their front bed, but I couldn't get a good picture of it.  The bloom was a deep royal blue, almost.  I love flowers, and they have green thumbs over in their neck of the woods.  I do not, and try to kill everything I touch, so I just don't mess with the flower beds anymore.  At our house right now, all we have in the front are huge boxwood shrubs, which are big and tall, which our house needs.

After we left them, we drove around in Rossville, on the town square.  I love driving around and looking at houses.

These were my two favorites.

Saturday we stayed close to home all day, and then ventured out that night after we ate pizza for dinner.  The boys wanted to go look at the fancy cars again, in the Clark Tower parking garage, which we did, but then a security guard told us we had to leave.  She was really sweet, and we ended up riding around with her in her golf cart, as she took us to our car.  She told us her life story, and we felt like we had made a friend by the time we left.


We came home, and later that night, Todd, Drew, and Jonah went to Gibson's Donuts.

We were at church bright and early yesterday morning, then home for lunch, then at three I was back for praise team practice and then choir practice at four.  I went straight from there to my friend's house who is our host for community group this year.

About community group, for the last four years, I have helped lead the same group of girls every Sunday night.  They graduated in May, and leading up to last night, my friend Missy and I have been in much prayer about asking for this group of girls we started with last night.  Lord willing, we will lead them together, for all of their high school years in community group.

LOOK AT THEM.  They are every bit as wonderful, sweet, friendly, and precious as they appear in this photo.  Not all of them could make it last night, but I hope they all get to come next week, when we meet again.  We spent our time together talking and getting to know each other, and I look forward to all that is ahead of us.  They are a very special group of girls, that much was obvious last night as they talked to us.  We prayed for them, as they start school today (most of them), and then before we knew it, it was time to go home.

It was a great weekend, and was made better when Graham made it home safely from his trip.  He had a great time with the college group he was with, and probably slept like a log in his own bed last night.  I think he was glad to be home.

Have a great day~if you're a student, or a teacher, or someone else working in a school, know that I have prayed for you today.  Shine for Jesus!

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday Favorites

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

I cannot BELIEVE this is the last weekend before school starts back for local students around me.  It seems like the date gets closer and closer each year.  I always have mixed feelings about the end of the summer break.  Lots of time I am ready for it to be over because I crave the structure of our days during the school year.  The other part of me will miss the hanging out, the friends over constantly (though that's been less lately, more than ever before), the easy days.

One thing I am always ready for, though?


It's my favorite season of all (I think?), and I am always more than ready for cooler nights, camping trips, and all the other Fall things that seem so cozy to me.

It's been a good week around here, with nothing super exciting going on, but here are some of my favorite things I've done or watched this week.

I loved this night.  It was the night we met with our book club, but it was the out in the country edition.  Call me crazy, because I have been watching the Hallmark channel this week, but this reminds me out of a scene of one of the many movies/shows I've watched this week.  The end of those lights end at a small pond.

It was easily my favorite night this week, and the food, the company, and the talk was wonderful.

Speaking of the Hallmark channel, I've been watching season one of this all week.

Chesapeake Shores.  It starts up again Sunday night, and I have my DVR set to record every episode.  I somehow missed out on this last year, either that, or the first episode wasn't appealing to me, but I've spent this week catching up so I can watch season two when I'm done.

I found out that this show is based on an entire series of books.

And that appeals to me even more than the show!  I'll end up reading this series, I'm sure.  Hopefully I'll be able to find them at my local library.

Other things and moments from this week, but not pictured are as follows:

Spending time with friends.  I met one sweet friend for coffee at Starbucks Wednesday night, and though it wasn't long that we had together, it was so nice getting to chat for a bit and get caught up with each other.

Last night we went to a friend's house for dinner as a family, and we always have so much fun when we're there.  They live in the country and the boys LOVE riding four wheelers and just hanging out there.  The food is always amazing (except for when a jalapeno makes my face numb from the spice), and the company is even sweeter.  We always stay late, even though it was a Thursday night, and always come away wishing we lived somewhere out there nearby.

Today my dad is coming over, and I am so excited!  I haven't seen him in WEEKS, so we have lots to catch up on.  And then the same is true for tonight~Jonah, Noah, and I are going to my mom's and stepdad's, for the same reason.  It's been weeks since I've seen any of my family.  Tuesday night is when we get to see the Goodwin side, and I'm equally as excited to see them.

Thanks for reading, friends!  I need to go run the vacuum over all the hairy floors now.  Love to all!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

a legacy left behind

I am going to the home-going celebration of a dear older lady who has been in my life for the last four years.  Her name is Mrs. Audrey Stallings.  She was a beautiful, encouraging, Jesus-loving, Titus 2 woman that I had the privilege of meeting by accident at a youth event several years ago.  We had been given an assignment as a service project for Saturday afternoon of that D-Now, which was to go and visit some elderly people who were unable to leave their homes.

Honestly, I think their name was given to us by accident, because at that time, they were not shut ins.  God wanted us to meet this dear elderly couple, though, Mr. Frank and Mrs. Audrey, and He arranged a divine appointment that day.

We walked inside, which was toasty and warm, and she had hot cocoa and warm cookies waiting on us.  We sat in a circle in their cramped little living room, and she just opened her mouth and began to talk.  Right away, my friend Scottie and I were mesmerized at all the wisdom that poured from her mouth.  She introduced them and shared some of their story with us, then invited the girls to begin asking questions.

A full two hours later, and well past our time to have left, we asked for a picture with them, and the girls asked if Mr. Frank and Mrs. Audrey would be their adopted grandparents.  They wholeheartedly agreed to be that for the girls, and after we circled around and had them pray over us, we left.

I mean.  Are they not the most adorable you have ever seen?  After that beautiful time on that D-Now weekend, Mrs. Audrey would regularly come upstairs and pour into these girls.  She prayed faithfully for all of us, Scottie and myself as well, and we knew that in her, we had found a forever friend, and mentor.

The girls would just unexpectedly drop by her house when the need arose, and she always welcomed them in with open arms.  She had given all of us their phone number, and we knew we could call on them anytime.

These girls ended up graduating, but even after they'd left the youth area, we knew that Mrs. Audrey was still a vital part of our student ministry.

This was on a Wednesday night, family style church service, where our Pastor had people come up and share about their ministry and how others could get involved.  You had better believe that Mrs. Audrey made her way up to that stage on this night and shared about how her ministry would never die until the day Jesus called her home.

She was there to encourage them on at their senior dinner the year they graduated, and then after these girls moved to the college ministry, Mrs. Audrey asked for more girls.  So just this past winter at yet another D-Now event, we took our girls to go see them once again.  These girls already knew who the Stallings were, because word of their ministry had spread to everyone, and they both still faithfully prayed over the girls in youth.

And these girls were their newly adopted granddaughters, established the same afternoon Missy and I took the girls to see them.  Mr. Frank was pretty feeble during the time we were there and couldn't really be a part for too long, because he was so weak.  But he would pipe up every now and then from his recliner in their den, as he heard Mrs. Audrey say something he thought was worth him interjecting.

Imagine my surprise, when I learned that she was very sick and that hospice was being called in to care for her, while I was on my way to Denver a couple of weeks ago.  I never got to see her again, the last time being this weekend in February, at D-Now.  She was unable to come because of Mr. Frank, and how sick he was, but when she got sick, it all happened very fast, and she passed away sometime over the weekend.

Today is her home-going celebration, and I will be sitting there among a crowd of people who will be there to honor her, and dear Mr. Frank.  Please help me pray for him~can you imagine losing your spouse of almost sixty-five years?  I surely cannot, and wonder how long he will last, now that she is gone.  Thank you, in advance, for your prayers for him, and their family.

Mrs. Audrey was a wonderful example of the Titus 2 woman.  I'll write it out, so that you can understand for yourself what she was to many.

In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine.  They are to teach what is good, so they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and submissive to their husbands, so that God's message will not be slandered.  Titus 2:3-5

She wasn't only a mentor to teenage girls, but to their leaders in the student ministry as well.

I am so thankful for the hope we have in Jesus, for those of us who are believers in and followers of Him.  I know that she is in heaven, and that I will see her again, because to be out of the body means that one is present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Thanks for reading, friends.  Love to all.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

book club

Since about May, I've been meeting with a small group of friends to read through and talk about a book that a friend wrote.  (Well, I didn't know her at first, but I now consider the author to be my friend forever.)  If you know me at all, you know I love the thought of a book club!  I attempted to do this last summer with a friend of mine, and though I thought it started well, I think the group grew to be so large that it became hard to actually get together.  We even said last night, that the key to this book club is that it's small.  There are five of us, total, but one couldn't join us last night, so there were just the four of us.

I also kinda hate to say this, but it's true, so I'll just say it: you almost need to hand pick the people you know to be in a group like this.  Not everyone loves to read, and not all personality types match up, so it's important to remember that when doing something like this.  That is something that is really, really hard for me, because (thanks to a great friend and the youth pastor at our church) I've come to the realization that includers really are greater than excluders.  I hate the thought of leaving anyone out, and I certainly never want to hurt anyone's feelings.

I'm sensitive in that way, so I try to be considerate, in light of how I feel.

If you want to do this, start with a book that you love.  I know of many who do book clubs with fictional books, and that is great!  I've learned that for this kind of event, I prefer nonfiction and Christian.  If I'm going to spend lots of time reading, and then talking about something, I'd prefer it to be fruitful in my life, but that is just my opinion.

The book that we've been reading is Tapestry of Roots: Threads Woven By The Master, by Angela Phelan.

I don't want to give away too much of the book, but it is all about God's love for His people, His desire for us to CHOOSE to obey Him, and His covenants throughout His word.  It is truly one of the most beautifully written books that I have ever read, and I am thrilled to have gotten to know a new and dear friend in the process.

We have been reading about four chapters at a time, and though we didn't meet for a while, we have gotten through the book quickly.  We meet to discuss what we've read, and Angela has been writing out a study guide of sorts for us that we go through.  After last night, we will meet two more times before we finish this book.

We've met at one friend's house, then at an office in a conference room, and then last night, we had a lovely night out in the country.  The picture above was when we first arrived.  The weather was so nice that we sat outside on the front porch and enjoyed the view.

I escaped for a minute to take things to my car when everyone went inside, and took a few pictures.  :)

We were going to each take our own dinner, sort of like a picnic style type meal, and eat together, but our sweet friend offered to make us dinner!  We had hamburgers and French fries, and the best peach cobbler I've had in a long time.  (Missy, sorry I took this on the sly!)

We talked about four more chapters of the book (after spending a solid hour and a half catching up), and then called it a night.

It was a beautiful night, more so than just the weather, of friendship and fellowship and laughter, and then I asked if we could have the last two nights out there as well.  I did offer to cook dinner for the next time we meet though, and take it with me.

I am so thankful for nights like this, for sweet friendships that the Lord has given me, for NEW friends, and for the fact that one thing we kept talking about last night was just the goodness of the Lord.

More than anything else, that is what I love to talk about: His grace, His mercy, His goodness.  I am so thankful for like-minded sisters in Christ and for dear friends that invite us into their homes that are made beautiful by their love and friendship.

That's how we've done this book club, but you can certainly do your own thing.  It is every bit as fun as I always imagined, and I cannot recommend enough doing something like this.  We're already talking about our next thing, so I'm glad that we'll be continuing on with this group.

Thanks for reading my blog!  Thank you to the dear friends who are part of this group for being such beautiful souls.  Love to all.

(Also, oddly enough, I met with two other dear friends yesterday at lunch, to discuss a book I'm reading through with them, and I enjoyed their company and fellowship equally as much!  How I went from being in nothing like this to being in two little groups, is beyond me, but I am loving it!  I love these women so much, and being in their midst makes me want to be more like Jesus and know Him even more than I already do.  These are the type friends that the writer of Hebrews speaks of in chapter ten verse twenty-four---they provoke me on to love and good works.  They are truly gifts in my life, and I am so thankful to the Lord for these type friendships.  I pray that I never take them for granted.)

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals  (and friends) for this post. This time last week, I was waking up in ...