Wednesday, October 28, 2015

what's up Wednesday

I'll start from Sunday, for a little bit of what we've been up to.

Our youth pastor and students led worship on Sunday at church.  They did such an amazing job, and I had tears in my eyes for much of the service, just hearing them sing and seeing them worship.  It was a beautiful sight to behold.

I asked my hubby to take pictures, and he did.  This is one he texted to me.  Graham is over there on the far left, then Katie, Mark, Jason (our youth pastor in the middle), Kailyn, Chandler, Abbey, AJ and another Katie.

We have been at church a lot this week, but that's nothing new.  I am so glad we live so close to our church home.  We would still go a lot even if we didn't live close, but man does it make it convenient for us, living two blocks away.  On Sunday afternoon, I took these boys to play in the gym and to hang out with AJ.

I love these guys so much!  They always want to be at church, and for that, I am thankful.  I'm also thankful for our amazing youth staff~without them, it wouldn't be like that.

I've been with teenagers a lot this week.  That's nothing new, but it's been part of my week.  I took this picture on Sunday night, during community group.  The only thing I have to do with community group on Sunday nights nowadays is that I host the ninth and tenth graders every week.  I love having them!  They do usually let me hang out with them, which is really sweet.  ;)

Callie has been my little buddy all week.  She loves being with me while I'm in the kitchen.  I cannot tell you how many times I have tripped over her or almost stepped on her, though.  Her spot is way different from Andy's old spot, so I have to be careful.

She's so cute.  I love how big her paws are and how clumsy she is.  She falls over all the time, and it's the most precious thing you have ever seen.  There's nothing quite like a clumsy dog.

Last night I had bible study at the church, then I ran an errand with these crazies.

We were shopping for Hollywood Night that takes place in youth tonight.  I'm even missing choir because of it, y'all, and that's a big deal.  I'm also dressing up with my cohort that you see in the above picture.  She talked me into it.  :)  I won't tell you who we're all going as, but plan on seeing lots of pictures on Friday.  (I never blog on Thursday's because of our long day.)  Graham's costume might be my favorite because of...well, nevermind.  Just know it's going to be cute and all the pictures will be hilarious.

And yes, I bought my son a bra last night.  I never thought I would say that, but just you wait for the pictures.  Happy Wednesday to you!

Love to all.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

speaking of praying

In honor of keeping things real on the blog, do you ever try to pray and really don't know what to say?  Or does what you pray seem mundane, or repetitive?

That happens to me.  When that happens, I tend to open up the book of Psalm and read aloud the scripture to God.  I know He hears that, and I know it must please Him, because He is the word.

"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God."  John 1:1

Sometimes I am so tired when I wake up that I cannot seem to focus on anything but trying to stay awake.  Those are the mornings when my prayer is short.  Other mornings, it seems as if I could go on forever.

I also have a book of prayer prompts that are straight out of the Bible.  In it are prayer prompts for my husband (or wife, if a man is reading), my kids, my family, the lost, government, warfare, etc.  I don't feel bad reading from the pages, because all of the prompts are Scripture with references.

And not only can this happen with prayer, it can happen in reading the Bible.  Do any of you struggle with this?  I do sometimes with that, as well.  I was reading the Bible through, chronologically, but I stopped in March, because I wasn't paying attention to what I was reading.  I was doing it only as something to get done.  I don't know about you, but when I read the Bible that way, it surely does NOT transform me.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is~His good, pleasing and perfect will."  Romans 12:2

Our minds are renewed when we read His word.

I usually do have something in mind to read when I open the Bible, but sometimes I just flip through Psalms.  Or I will read through the shorter books in the New Testament.  Not too long ago, I was reading in Acts, but for the last couple of weeks, I have been pouring over Ephesians.  I don't recommend this way of reading the Bible.  It's good to have a plan to stick with.  I used to use devotional books, but I no longer use them.  I just read the Bible.

One thing I know, though, and that is what Hosea 4:6 says about not reading God's word.

"My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.  Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children."

Ignoring the law equals not knowing or not reading His word.

Those are some scary words.  I came across this picture last week and it goes along with what I'm talking about.

Stay hungry for the word of God.  Pray that He will make you long for it, as a deer longs for water.  (That's somewhere in the book of Psalm.)  When something will bring glory and honor to Him, He will answer.

Love to all.

Monday, October 26, 2015

sermon notes

My pastor preached a really great message yesterday.  It was the first in a new series he just started, called Prayer 101.  I thought I would share on here the highlights of what he preached, because I got so much out of it; maybe you will, too.

Praying in Faith
{Matthew 7:7-11}

~There is authority for praying in faith.

Matthew 7:7 says, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

1 Chronicles 16:11 Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

~There is assurance for praying in faith.

Matthew 7:7-8 says, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."  {In these two verses, Jesus reassured them six times.}

~There is an approach for praying in faith.

Matthew 7:9-11 "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

In these verses, Jesus appealed to them as a loving and caring father would to his son.  God is our loving and caring heavenly Father, and He hears us when we pray.

Chuck Herring is our pastor at Collierville First Baptist Church, and all of the above was his sermon yesterday.  If you are interested in hearing the whole sermon, you can probably find it on our church's website.  Google is your friend in times like this.  :)

As a side note, and in my own observation from his message yesterday, one thing I am learning more and more as I grow in faith and stature is that God will only answer our prayers if that is His will for our life.  If you pray for healing and you're not seeing results, that is because He has a reason.  If you pray for a job and you don't get it, that is because He has a reason.  I am learning more and more that all that I have (husband, kids, home, cars) is His, and I am to live in surrender to God's plan for our life.  In knowing this, I don't pray the same way that I used to pray.  When I pray, I talk to Him like I would my dad, but I also tell Him that I submit to whatever His plan is for my life.  His ways are perfect, after all.  I don't always "get" this like I do right at this present moment, but He is teaching me more and more to depend on Him.

I pray that this reaches someone who needed to hear this today.  Love to all.

Friday, October 23, 2015

a different kind of Friday

It's been a good week as far as school stuff, but it's been different, in light of all the things that have gone on in my little hometown.  Before fall break (which was last week), a beloved teacher at the local high school died.  Students and faculty alike were shocked.  Then over this past weekend, a junior from the same school was killed in a car wreck.  I didn't know either one, but seeing the students this affected hit close to home, because I am close with them.  On Monday night, one girl just collapsed in my arms and cried all over me.  All I knew to do was to wrap my arms around her and pray for her right then and there.  (And yes, I cried right alongside her.)

And to think of the parents of the junior boy.  Y'all.  My oldest son is a junior.  Talk about perspective.  I have hugged all of my boys extra tight this week, and I have covered my Graham in prayer every time he leaves in his car.

"Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father; there is no shadow of turning with Thee.  All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.  Great is Thy faithfulness."

Our days on this earth are numbered, my friends.  None of this has been any surprise to God, and for that, I am thankful.  Time is in His hands, and He is in control.  I am thankful for all of that.  My heart still breaks for the young man's parents, because I cannot imagine what that must be like.  (And do you sense urgency?  If you were to die today, where would you go?)

I have been in a continual state of prayer all week, because the Lord has brought to my mind all the students affected.  Even those who didn't know him, it's affected.  I didn't know him, and I'm a hot mess, even as I write this post.  Another huge loss this week was a dear friend to my sister, who was almost like a second mom to her.  She passed away early in the week, and I know my sister hurts.  I hurt for my sister and I have cried right along with her as she grieves her dear friend.

"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.  I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.  Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."  Lamentations 3:19-23

In our distress, He is faithful and He is good.

In our times of ease, He is faithful and He is good.

In times of sadness, He is faithful and good.

In times of happiness, He is faithful and He is good.

In death, He is faithful and He is good.

In life, He is faithful and He is good.

Praise and glory and honor to His name.

I cannot IMAGINE what life must be like to those with no hope.  Because without God, there is no hope.  I'm always around here if you would like to know more.

Love to all.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

things I love right now

Good Wednesday morning!  I thought I would write a post about some things I'm loving right now.

I saw this on the internet this morning and wanted to share.

I will say it again and again: I am thankful for the women God has placed in my life.  They are His gift to me, and I treasure them all.  

This week I've shaken up my morning routine.  Instead of coming downstairs and having quiet time then turning on The Today Show, I've been coming over to the the computer desk and turning on K-Love on the kitchen radio.  I much prefer worship music over the junk I've seen on The Today Show lately.  I think it's putting me in a more chipper mood each day.  My kids like that.  So does my hubby.  

Yesterday I was listening to music on YouTube.  Some songs that I'm loving right now are below.

Anthem Lights.  I love these guys!  This song is my current favorite, but I listened to a bunch of their stuff yesterday afternoon.

I am also loving a song I learned at high school camp over the summer at Ridgecrest.  This one is by the actual guy that we heard sing at camp, though now he's in a different band.  This band is called House Fires II, and the song is Good, Good Father.

The same song is being sung on K-Love right now, by Chris Tomlin.  His version is good, too.  

I am in a Tuesday night Bible study at church, and we are doing Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer.  I love this study!  It might be the best I've ever done.

The homework is pretty heavy, but that's where the real meat of the study is, so it is no big deal to get all of it done each week.  Ephesians 6 has been a favorite passage of Scripture of mine for a long time, so I think that might be the reason why I'm gaining so much from this study.  

My mom, sisters and I have been group texting.  A lot.  I love this!  We don't always talk on the phone, or at least, not very often, so this is something we've been doing and I feel like it's drawing us closer together.  There are lots of miles between us, so I am thankful for this communication.  We share pictures, we share funny stories and prayer requests.  I am thankful to God for my mom and sisters!

One thing I am NOT loving right now is season seven of Gilmore Girls.  :/  Not even kidding.  I want to strangle Lorelai.  In the episode I'm on now, she just did something that made me really mad at her.  I am over the whole Lorelai/Christopher and Lorelai/Luke drama.  My vote is for Luke, but I don't think the odds are in their favor.

I am so thankful that I have the Hallmark channel!  That might sound trivial, but I am.  I love all the fall movies they've been airing lately, and they're all new to me, so I've been setting up the DVR like crazy.  I need to watch some to free up some space.  And, and, and!  I pinned the Hallmark Christmas movie lineup yesterday.  I cannot wait!  

Well, that's about all I had written down that I am loving right now.  (Yes, I write down blog ideas in my journal.)  What are some things you're loving right now?  I would love to hear.  

Love to all!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

on being encouraged and on being an encourager

Last night we had a women's event at church.  My older boys also had two soccer games, but with Todd's Monday night class cancelled, he went to the games and I was able to go to the women's event.  I am so glad I went!

We do several types of these events at church throughout the year, but last night's was special.  It was just women sharing their hearts with other women.  We heard testimonies and stories about being satisfied in Christ Jesus, infertility and adoption, special needs children, divorce and single parenting, raising rebellious children, surviving cancer, caring for aging parents, widowed but not alone and general encouragement for us all.

All the stories were heartfelt and it was blatantly obvious that God had done a mighty work in the hearts and lives of the sweet ladies who shared.  I love nights like this, when my heart is so full with love for my Savior and the people He has placed in my life, that I feel as if it could burst.

Friends, we are not meant to walk through life alone.

I was praying on my way home (and when I was at home alone for a while because my family was all at Sonic), thanking God for the body of believers He has placed in my life.  This is a gift from Him, and one that I pray I never take for granted.  He places a longing in our hearts for fellowship, whether you know that or not.  It's why when you meet that special friend, you feel an instant click.  I feel like it's our hearts connecting.  Have you ever experienced that?

If you have not, then please know that I will pray for God to give you a friend like that.  I am absolutely convinced that my life would be miserable without such godly women all around me.  I believe that God places the desire for fellowship in our hearts, because without it, life can be pretty depressing and miserable.  Some of my best memories involve my friends, and times when we laugh so hard that we cry.  I can't count how many times my friends have pulled through for me.  They have prayed with me and for me, they have driven me to doctor's appointments, they have brought me meals when I was sick or recovering from surgery or having babies, they have let my kids invade their houses while we were away, they are the ones I call when I need something quick.  I pray that I am the kind of friend to them as they have been to me.

There is a fine line between a sweet friendship and that being an idol, though.  We don't need to place this before God in our lives.  We need to seek Him first and to depend on Him for everything that we need, and after Him our families should be priority, specifically our husbands, then our kids.  When I do something with friends, it's only because my family was okay with it after I had run it by them first.

Another thing that God has given me a desire for in the past year, is for an older women to mentor me.  It's not unusual for women to crave something like this, because we so often pour ourselves out for others.  I think that sometimes I feel depleted, and just need a sweet older lady who will be my prayer warrior and who will counsel me.  Titus 2 tells us that older women are to teach younger women.  As long as I am alive on this earth, I don't want to be done learning.  I have been praying for this lady for a while now, and God hasn't given me any names or anything, but I know and trust Him that He will provide this for me someday.  Especially after hearing one such lady share last night, I leaned over and whispered to my friend that I wanted her to be my person.  I was only half kidding.

I am trying to think of a take away from this post, and I think it is that we need to be encouraged.  We also need to be encouragers.

How can we be that?

We can pray that our words are life giving.  (Ephesians 4:29 says that no unwholesome talk should come out of our mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs in Christ Jesus.)

We can pray without ceasing and we can ask that God would help our thoughts and words and actions to be honoring to Him.

We can ask Him to use us.

We can share His love with others, and we can be His hands and feet.  Just this morning, God prompted me to put aside my selfish desires and to go do something sweet for my husband.  It was a very small thing, but I remembered thinking that he would appreciate having both of his coffee to go mugs filled with coffee.  I don't say that to brag, because truthfully, I wanted to come sit down and read my favorite blogs, but I remember reading in Romans 12 that we should give preference to one another in honor.

I pray and hope that God uses these words of mine in someone's life today.  Love to all.

Monday, October 19, 2015

the weekend

While we were camping last week, Toddley was in Ohio, for work.  He returned home to us Thursday afternoon, and we were glad to see him!  We had lunch with my dad that day, too, because he went out of town on Friday.

A while back, some couple friends of ours from church invited us to spend a night with them at her parent's camper that sits on a lake.  We did that this weekend, and had a great time.  Between us we have nine kids, and our houses are never quiet, so it was a nice little getaway.  It was only about an hour from home, at a beautiful campground.

Beechwood Family Campground.  I love the leaves right now!  This is my favorite time of year, so I am loving the pretty colors, the fallen leaves and the crisp weather we wake up to each morning.

Their camper sits on a campsite overlooking the water.

We got settled in with all our stuff, then we just sat and talked for a long time.  We ate a delicious dinner (grilled chicken, steaks, baked potatoes, green beans and rolls), then played cards for the rest of the night.  We played Phase 10 and a new game we learned, called Tripoly.  We loved Tripoly so much that we bought it on Amazon.  It comes in today.  :)  It's three games packed into one and it's complicated, but I was pretty decent at it and was winning our second game when we finally had to start packing up on Saturday.  

We got home around 5:30 on Saturday and our neighborhood block party was going on, but I didn't go outside.  I was so sleepy and fell asleep in my chair at seven something, only to wake up and go to bed early.

Yesterday was church as usual with community groups that night, but I went with our juniors to the corn maze.

I named them Children of the Corn.

It was a great weekend, and I was glad about the fact that the boys survived being on their own for one whole night, for their first time.  I wasn't sure how that would turn out, but it was good.  They all slept in our room with the dogs and the cats.  That makes me laugh ridiculously hard.  On today's agenda is light school work for them, cleaning and laundering for me and planning out my time from now until Wednesday night.  We are leaving for our annual (giant) multiple family camping trip to Petit Jean on Thursday morning and won't return until Sunday afternoon.  I am excited, but I have got a lot of work to do until then!  I will start making all of the lists and such today.  (Please pray that the weekend forecast changes there!  There looks to be rain on Friday and Saturday and after last week's trip with the heavy rain, I am not excited about another night or two spent outdoors in heavy rain.)

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

the first of two camping trips of 2015

This week is our Fall break, and our junior girls were begging for a trip.  They originally wanted a beach trip, but that is not quite affordable, so we decided on a camping trip.  We weren't quite sure how it would all turn out, but looking back on it now, these girls amazed me!  Most of them had camped before, but three of them were newbies.  Please forgive the amount of pictures you are about to see.  I'll try to keep it as short as two days spent in the great outdoors and nine teenage girls will allow.

We decided on Natchez Trace State Park because it's beautiful and it's only about an hour and a half away.

The leaves were changing, so our timing was perfect!  This was on a trail nearby our campsite.  While driving through the park en route to our campground, one of the teenage girls *might* have had her stuck out the window the whole time screaming at the top of her lungs.  (Ahem, Emma Elaine.)

The girls who went were Hannah, Nancy, Rachel, Emma, Abigail, Nicole, Erin, Kathryn and Katie.  Also, let it be known that Vera Bradley went camping with us.  Never in my life have I seen so much luggage for a two night camping trip!  They are such princesses.  (Of COURSE they are.)

We got to our campground after turning around only twice, and we immediately settled down for lunch.  We were hungry!

We got our tents set up (thanks to the amazing hands who were so helpful) and we got all set up for our bedtime that night, and we just sat and relaxed.

This was my view while I was kicked back in a zero gravity chair.  Holy amazingness!  I need some of those.

The girls decided to go exploring and ended up on a beach and swimming lake.  I joined them when I started hearing the screams and squeals.

These girls!  I love them so much.  Left to right are Emma, Abigail, Katie, Rachel and Nicole.  Nancy was off taking pictures and Kathryn, Eryn and Hannah were on a playground.  Katie (in the middle) thought it would be funny to kick water on all of us and bless Abigail for chasing her down to retaliate.  What ended up happening, though, is that right after I took this picture, Abigail pulled Katie down in the water and they ended up going for an accidental swim.  At lease they weren't hot anymore!  This lake had a sandy bottom, so they felt nasty for the rest of the night.

Beach Babes.

This totally counts as their beach trip, right?  I think it should.  They had fun burying each other in the sand.

When we all got back to the campsite it was close to dinner time, so we started roasting our hot dogs over the fire.  It's a good thing we started early and got the food all put away, because some torrential rain caught all of us by surprise.  We *might* have screamed like crazy people when we started to get wet.

Then, because we couldn't think of what to do, a bunch of us just went to the bathroom.

These were our unamused faces.  Nicole and Eryn played cards and the rest of us sang Christmas carols while waiting on the rain to stop.

Except that it never did.

We got stuck outside under a tree and under my huge umbrella.  Emma made the mistake of shining her flashlight on the tree trunk, and lo and behold, she was leaning up against a trunk covered in the biggest ants known to mankind.  We had to go back to the bathroom and one *might* have crawled out of her shorts.  We finally were forced into cars and tents.  Emma, Hannah, Abigail and Katie slept in my car (and ATE all the night long) and I crawled into the tent with Lori, Missy and Nancy.  Nancy and Lori ended up sleeping in Lori's van, so Missy and I ended up alone in my huge tent.  Lori and Nancy were forced out because it was sprinkling in the tent.  In all the tents, actually.  We laughed until we cried and we talked and talked and talked until I fell asleep (in the rain puddles and with a wet pillow).

When we woke up the rain was gone, we had a hot mess of rainwater all over EVERYTHING and it was freezing!

It must have been in the forties.  Thank the good Lord for hot coffee and chocolate!  It warmed up quickly, though, and after breakfast, Emma, Rachel, Eryn, Kathryn, Hannah, Nicole, and Abigail went on a hike.  They probably walked about three miles that morning and were starving when they got back!  Katie, Nancy, Lori, Missy and I stayed behind and played Phase 10.

Nancy was off taking pictures during this part of our day.

Lori watched television on her phone.

We had a yummy lunch and afterward, Hannah, Nicole, Eryn and Abigail left for another hike.  Close to three hours later, Hannah wanted to know how long the trail was, because it was taking forever.  Thanks to The Google, we discovered, much to our horror, that it was FORTY MILES LONG.  The girls stopped and tried to make their way to a road they had just passed so Lori and Emma could pick them up.  Except that wrong directions were given and then Lori and Emma got turned around.  Missy ended up being their rescuer and Lori and Emma made it safely back to our campground.

All in all, I would say these girls probably walked close to fifteen miles on Tuesday.

The Lost Girls!  We served them dinner and they had the rights to those amazing chairs.  Thank the good Lord for His protection (and for Advil and Tylenol)!

That could have been very scary for them.  Never have we been so glad to see someone!

That night for dinner we ate taco soup.  It was DELICIOUS.  And it got very cold very quickly, so we were thankful for something hot.  We roasted s'mores for dessert.

I made some soup on Sunday and froze it overnight and another mom made some as well, so on Tuesday around three, we put it all into crock pots and heated it up for that night's dinner.  Seriously.  It was amazing.

We stayed up till ten and sang and talked and laughed and had a sweet devotion around the campfire and we all pretty much fell into our tents, exhausted.  Except that Missy and I ended up having the party tent and stayed up until almost midnight.  I adore her!  She is one of my people.

We woke up by seven the next morning and had breakfast and dressed and got ready to come home.  The girls talked us into Chick Fil A, because SOMEBODY (ahem, Emma Elaine) didn't want to eat the whole time.  So they circled up around her to pray that her appetite would come back.

It did.

We took goodbye pictures and "we survived" pictures.

And "WOW" pictures.

Inside joke.

I must post one picture out of over a hundred that THIS girl took on my phone.

I do love Abigail so much, and it's a good thing!  ;)

We circled up and thanked God for the amazing trip we'd had, I cried, they all hugged me and we left.

It was absolutely an amazing time and I would do it all again in a heartbeat, even the rain!  (Well, maybe not the rain.)  I adore these girls and I am so thankful for our time away, together.

Love to all.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Favorites, church edition

Happy Friday!  This week has been spent at my church.  Literally.  It's a good thing that I consider that to be my home away from home.  I'm linking up with Momfessionals for this post.

Last weekend, one of our favorite families came to visit for dinner.  Not only are they are dear friends, they were our neighbors for a good amount of years.  (It's too early and I haven't had enough coffee yet to think back to how long they were actually there.)  They moved to Murfreesboro back at the end of May, and let's just say that it was bad when they left.  We couldn't even say goodbye to each other.  Over the summer we went to visit them for a few days, and then last weekend they came here.  We celebrated Myles' birthday with pizza and cake.

He's the one on the back row, the second from the left.  The little guy to the right of him is his younger brother, Zander.  We love this family so much and were so glad to get to see them, even for just a few hours, last Saturday night.

Last weekend, I was so glad to have cool weather!  Fall weather is my favorite.  Not only is that my favorite, but cozy sweaters are, too.  I was so chilled after church last Sunday that I came home and changed clothes, pulling out this favorite sweater from last year.

It feels like a blanket.  Seriously.  I'm pretty sure that right after this was taken, I fell asleep.  Sunday afternoon traditions are also my favorite.  It's the only day of the week that I always schedule a short nap.

Now begins the church part of this blog post.  On Monday afternoon, the older boys and I went to our church, to paint something for a seniors dinner that took place Thursday night.  It didn't take us that long to actually get it painted, but we had a great time while we waited just laughing at the antics of the boys.  This is my friend Cathy, who was so sweet to come help me with the sign.  She also helped during the dinner last night.

These might just be two of my very favorite pictures ever.  My boys crack me up, and not just the older two, but all of them.  On Wednesday night during a dress rehearsal, Noah was on a side section of the stage, just dancing his little heart out.  I didn't know that boy could move like that!  And Jonah cracks me up with his adult-like personality and his love of laughing.  I am so thankful to God for my boys!  They're all so sweet and make me incredibly proud.  They are DEFINITELY my favorite.

Tuesday and Wednesday didn't make the list of favorites for this week, but they were normal days, spent doing schoolwork, Bible study stuff (for me) and Wednesday night church/choir practice.  I will say that Thursdays are always a day that I love because of my Bible study friends.  I love my small group of ladies that I see every week, and I love our talks and our time of praying together.

Last night, we had to be at church at five.  The dinner that I keep mentioning was something put on for the senior citizens at our church, and a few weeks ago, I was asked to help organize/manage the teenagers that they wanted serving and performing.  I had to come up with a list of eight teenagers, four boys and four girls, and we met several weeks in a row for practice.  This event was called "The Fabulous 50's", and it was dinner and a performance after.  Our teenagers served our seniors, and they waited on them.  After the dinner portion of the evening, the teenagers headed backstage and performed.  The music was amazing, and all these teens did a great job.  I was incredibly proud of all of them, and their servant hearts.  Last night was the highlight of my week and I know it'll be a favorite memory for a long time to come.

This sweet lady is the wife of our new youth pastor!  I am so thankful for this family that God sent to us, and I have loved getting to know sweet Sunday.  (Yes, her name is Sunday.)  Precious.

These are the amazing and fabulous teenagers who helped last night.  Left to right are Emily, Kaylee, Emma, Nancy, Drew, Andrew, Graham and Alex.  The only one missing is Jonathan, who just about brought the house down while he sang, "In the Still of the Night".

These kiddos served with such willingness last night, and it almost brings tears to my eyes, thinking of them serving the seniors.

Jonathan was the one singing, and these boys lip synced the background vocals.  They also had to move in time with the music, and I was impressed!  Especially because my Drew (in the teal vest) cannot clap and sing at the same time.

This is Emma, my most favorite girl of all time.  I love her heart, her sense of humor, and last night, I loved her red lipstick!  We were showing off our lipstick marks on our cups.  We were proud.

It was such a fun night.  I ended up sitting out in the audience with my mom and step-dad, and I was glad that I got to watch.

Well, thanks for reading about our week!  I must wake the boys now.  ;)  Love to all!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

some things I do (almost) every day

I was inspired by a homeschooling mom's blog this morning to share a little of what every day looks like at my house.  I thought I would make my own little rendition of that post and share it with you.

I wake up earlier than my kids.  I love having my morning quiet time while they're still asleep, otherwise, I am distracted by breakfast and them playing with the dogs.  During this time I sit down with my cup of coffee, my Bible and my journal, and I begin my day.  (I will choose to keep things real here on the blog and confess that this morning, that time was very short.  I tossed and turned from three until six something this morning, so my brain feels fuzzy and my eyelids seem heavy.  I am surprised I didn't fall back to sleep.)

I love having a tidy home, so while I'm letting the dogs out in the morning time, I take some time and straighten up the couches and pillows, and I fold the blankets we've used.  My kids love blankets and think they have to use them every single time they're on the couch.  ;)  I also have these little twinkle lights on my fireplace mantle that make me really happy, so I turn them on every single day.  (I didn't turn them on in the summer months, but once Fall got here, I started turning them on again.)

I check my email and reply to what needs a response, I get on Facebook for a few minutes, I usually write a blog post, and I read the blogs I love on my blog's sidebar.

I freshen up the laundry in the dryer for about fifteen minutes before pulling it out and folding it, then I start another load.  I try to complete one full load every single day.  It helps me to be able to somewhat stay more on top of it.

I love waking up to a clean kitchen, so before I go to bed, I make sure that the counters and sinks are cleaned off.  (This didn't happen Monday night, so yesterday I did wake up to dishes in the kitchen sink.)

I make my bed almost every day.

I spend time doing whatever homework in my Bible study needs to be finished.  I usually have two going at once, so I delegate my time to do those on Monday through Wednesday.  Our Thursday's and Friday's go by really fast, so on those days, I spend the time I would be doing homework doing light cleaning around the house.  (I love to start and end a weekend with a clean house, so we tend to clean on Monday's and Friday's.)

I make something hot to eat, either for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

I light a candle, I plug in a scented wall plug in thing, or I spray room spray.  I love for my house to smell good (NOT like dogs), and depending on the season or what I have on hand, I do one of those things.

I turn on lamps.  I have some cute little lamps that I love, so much to the dismay of my husband, I turn most of them on.  There are always two or three on in the living room (depending on where my kids are doing school work), and one at the top of the stairs.

I turn on my front porch lights every night before or after dinner.

I love to open my front door, but I always do this if the kids are outside.  Crash always sits on the welcome rug and cries to be let out with them, but we can't let him out without a leash in the front.

I watch a morning news show, then the television gets turned off for the rest of the daytime hours.  Although, sometimes, the boys like to eat lunch in the living room and catch up on a show that's been recorded.

I do something to unwind, so whether that takes place in the form of a book or in the form of the evil that comes straight from the pit of hell (Netflix), I spend time relaxing.

I tell my husband and my kids that I love them.  I also try to find something that I can build them up with.  Ephesians 4:29 says that we shouldn't let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up, according to what they need.  I try to focus more on the positive than the negative.  I try to be a listening ear to my husband, whenever he needs to talk.  I kiss Toddley on the lips, sometimes briefly, sometimes not so briefly.  ;)

I write in my journal, about what we've done that day, what I read in the Bible and other thoughts or ideas that pop into my brain.  I also keep a running list of things to do or books to read or blog post ideas there.

When we're all home, we usually spend time together on the couches.  We talk, we laugh, they wrestle with together (BOYS.), we watch television, they play the game on their phones together that they're addicted to.

I go to bed at a reasonable hour.  I don't always fall asleep at a reasonable hour, but I do try.  (See comment about the evil that comes straight from the pit of hell.)

Now that I've shared my somewhat daily routine, what does yours look like?  I really am interested, so leave some comment love!

Love to all.

Monday, October 5, 2015

weekend update

It was a beautiful weekend in The Ville.  I was very hopeful that the lovely fall weather would stick around this week, but alas, it will be warming up again today.

We started off our weekend by seeing my daddy for the first time in almost a month.  He's been out of town, and we have missed him!  He met Callie for the first time.  This one is smitten by her.

They're so cute.  As I am writing this, Callie is playing fetch with herself.  She has this tiny bouncy ball that she keeps on dropping and then chasing around like a mad dog.  I suppose it doesn't take much to amuse her.

We went to lunch that day and then made a giant trip to Costco.  It's been a few weeks, and the pantry was looking a little bare.  That night, the boys and I went to my friend's house to watch the local football game.  It was a little chilly, but perfect football weather.  It ended up being three of us moms who sat out there, while some of our kids played in the yard.  Graham was my only one to go inside the gate.  The rest of the boys don't care that much about sitting in the bleachers with all the students.  (Introvert much?)

When we came home, I watched an episode or two of Gilmore Girls before going to bed.  Todd was at a local fair, hanging out with his friend who was there doing sound.

On Saturday, the older boys had a scrimmage at Germantown Baptist, but I didn't go.  I stayed home and did some laundry, watched tv and the boys played outside almost all day long.  That night our old neighbors and dear friends came over to celebrate Myles' birthday.  We had pizza and cake, and Myles and Zander spent the night.  It was so good seeing our friends again!

We have missed them so much.  The boys stayed up way too late, but I could hear them laughing as I went to bed early, because we had to be at church at the crack of dawn.

Yesterday was our nineteenth wedding anniversary.  We have now been married as many years old we were when we got married.  (We were nineteen, in case you're not up for math this early.)  It was another day at church for us, though, with the usual activities and lunch out with some sweet friends.

I was freezing when I came home from lunch and put on this sweater to help me warm up.  It's so cozy and blanket-like.  

The rest of the family was at middle school girls soccer game.  I stayed home and took a nap.  :)  It might be one of my best Sunday activities.  It was a great and restful weekend.

I hope your day is great!  Love to all.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Favorites, grateful edition

Good Friday morning!  I am excited about this weekend and cannot believe it's already Friday.  I'm linking up with Momfessionals for this post.

Hands down, one of my favorite moments from this past week was seeing all these teenagers dressed up for the homecoming dance.  I love these people so much, and it is fun seeing them having fun together.

Another favorite moment with some of the same people, you will notice, was having a picnic after church on Sunday with our Bible fellowship class.  We were going to go out for lunch, but they requested a picnic at a park instead.  We are going on a girls only camping trip with them in a little over a week, and I am excited for that!  I can't wait to spend a couple of days with them in God's beautiful creation.

My heart is always so full after coming away from time with them.  I have known a lot of these girls since kindergarten, so it's been amazing to see them grow up into such a Godly young ladies.  I would be perfectly content if my oldest son marries one of them.  (Wishful thinking?)

I discovered that the blood moon was my favorite.

After community group on Sunday night, the boys and I drove to my mom's and step-dad's to see this moon, but the cloud cover was too dense.  We drove home and we could see it.  It was so cool, because at first it was totally eclipsed and almost pitch black.  Then you could see the eclipse moving and before we knew it, we could all see the redness of the moon.  A few minutes after I took this picture, it had returned to the moon we normally see.  I am continually blown away by God and His creation.  This was just another one of those favorite moments.

I loved sharing this moment with the boys.

I have gotten glimpses of future multiple dog moments that are blissfully calm.  This was one of those moments, and it's one of my favorite pictures I have of them to date.


Aren't they adorable?  They love to play with each other.  Crash is totally being paid back for the torment he brought upon sweet, old Andy, when he was just a pup.  Crash looks at me sometimes as if he's saying, "Mom?  Can't you make her give me back my toy?"  But I know he loves having a frisky playmate.  Callie is such a good puppy.  She's only had a couple of accidents in the house, and her huge ears and paws make our hearts melt.  She is so clumsy with her giant paws, that we can't help but laugh at her.  She is constantly tripping, running into things and falling right over.

The older boys soccer games have been some of my favorite moments from this week.  Monday night was chilly (!!!) and I had fun sitting with my friends and laughing over some of their antics.

Also on the list of favorites from the week is the fact that I was able to eat lunch with two sweet friends this week.  On Tuesday I make a giant pot of homemade broccoli cheese soup and my friend Abbey came to eat with us.  On Wednesday, my friend Scottie and I had plans to eat together.  She works at our church and we love to talk (and talk and talk and talk), so to save on drive time, we just went into a side room at the church and ate lunches we brought from home.  I loved being able to spend time with these sweet friends and get all caught up.  I would love to start making that a normal thing.  I think I might start making a goal list each month and adding things like that to it.

This might be my favorite new thing.  A friend gave me this as a gift and I love it!

A group of us started a new Bible study this week with the youth ministry leaders at church, and it might be my favorite non-Precept way study of all time.  It's on Ephesians 6 and it's called The Armor of God, by Priscilla Shirer.

This was me doing the homework one day this week.  I've already done most of it, because it's that good.  I'm doing another Bible study at our homeschool group each Thursday on 1 Peter.  It's that Precept study I mentioned above.  The reason that is my favorite way of studying the Bible is because you learn to study God's word, word by word.  Have you ever read a passage in Scripture and noticed one word used a lot of times in a small amount of verses?  Well, there's usually a reason why, and I have learned to stop and look for those repeated words and to discover their original meanings, whether in the Hebrew or the Greek.  I've learned more than I've ever learned before, in studying that way.

But this Armor of God is no light study.  It's nowhere near the amount of homework, so it's easier for me to do, but I am loving it so far.

Last, but not least, my favorite moment from this week just happened last night.  My sweet friend is married to the event planner at Hope Presbyterian, a huge church in this area, and he is able to get us into concerts for free, with really good seats.  I am so grateful for my friend, and for her husband, for giving us tickets.  Even the cheap seats last night would have cost us almost $100, so you see why we don't do things like this often.  I am so thankful for their generosity!  So last night I took the boys, along with my sister Trish, to see Colson Dixon, Britt Nicole and Toby Mac.  Todd was going to go, but there was a men's event at church and then he stayed late to help a friend with some things.  When I found out Todd wasn't going, I asked my sister Trish to go with us.  We had a blast.  Here are some pictures.

Colson Dixon is my favorite.  We have loved him since he was on American Idol.  He is unabashed in his worship, and when he sings, you have no doubt that he is only there to worship God.  I love his heart.  I love Britt Nicole's voice, but I don't care for her music that much.  I couldn't really hear her singing about God, either, which is a little weird, since she sings Christian music.  Maybe that was just me not hearing, but she is definitely entertaining.  Toby Mac came last, and like Colson, he left no doubt in my mind Who he was there for.  And, can I just say here, that I have loved him since I was a teenager and he was the lead singer in D.C. Talk?!  #flashbackFriday

My sweet Noah and I snagged a quick picture with this guy before we left.  Isn't my Noah handsome?  He has the sweetest heart of any kid I have ever known, and trust me, I have known a lot.  He is precious.

It's been a great week, and the weekend is looking to play out the same.  I am excited about a few things we'll be doing.  :)

Thank you for sticking with my blog and reading all my posts.  I pray that my heart is always transparent on here, and that I never come across as braggy.  I have NOTHING to boast in, except for my sweet Jesus.  I hope you love Him, too.  Love to all.

Friday Favorites, 7.12.2024.

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