Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday Favorites, 4.30.21


Happy Friday, friends! I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals for this weekly blog post. 

It's been a good week, but it has FLOWN by. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it just means that the days are going really fast and before I know it, Jonah's and Noah's graduation will have approached. 

Speaking of them, these pictures are my new favorites. I'm a horrible senior mom and was reminded for the second time by the same person that I needed to send pictures for two different events that honor the graduates in our church. Insert emoji with palm over face here. I was so thankful she reminded me those two times! I'd have forgotten, obviously.

I mean, shouldn't they still look like this?!

One thing I know—babies don't keep.

Moving on now—Scripture writing is one of my favorite parts of my quiet time each day. 

I am so grateful for Shannon from Sweet Blessings for posting these plans each month. May's is a great theme. Want to join me? Writing the verses out really helps hide God's Word in your heart. I've been doing this for at least the last four or five years and I have journals filled with Scripture.

I've had some really sweet times with Jesus this week. That is my favorite thing in all of the world. I love waking up early and waking up with a first cup of coffee, but each morning around seven fifteen, I start praying and just talking to Jesus. The things I pray for each day change, but He leads me in these moments and I feel like it's Psalm 23 come to life—He leads me beside quiet waters and He renews my life. These moments are precious to me and sometimes almost an hour will have gone right by. 

Speaking of talking to Jesus, have you heard this song? I'd post a snippet of the video, but the embedded links from YouTube haven't been working the last times I've tried. When you're finished with this blog, go watch that video. It's my current favorite song, but I can't listen to it without tearing up. My greatest desire for all of my sons, their future wives and children (Lord willing) is that they would walk very closely with the Lord and love Him with all their hearts and serve Him all the days of their lives. If that's the only thing they ever accomplish in life, it would be enough.

Here are a couple more favorites that I've been listening to all week—this new album by CeCe Winans and the Revive Our Hearts podcast. 

I'll wrap this post up with this last picture. If you know me at all, you know books are my favorite. My friend Dedee recommended this book and while we were away on our writing retreat in the mountains, I ordered it from Thrift Books. It came yesterday and I love it! It's called Morning and Evening because there is a short devotional for that time of day each day. The book is heavy and thick, needless to say, but I love keeping books like this around to use as part of my quiet time sometimes. 

I will say this though, about devotionals—while there isn't anything wrong with using a devotional, that should never be the only thing you read in your quiet time with the Lord. The Bible should be what you use the most, so don't just read a verse or two from a book like this and then let that be all you read from the Word of God that day. Read your Bible first, then supplement with this. As far as reading along in the Bible, you should always have a plan that you're sticking to for accountability. I pray that encourages you.

Other favorite moments from my week—

Wednesday night church is SO GOOD. I will be so sad when this class ends. 

Fries and Friends follows Wednesday night church and that is my favorite. I'm so thankful for Godly friends!

Receiving great news from a friend about her son's upcoming marriage was one of my favorite moments from the week.

Hearing from our old neighbors and dear friends was a favorite moment from the week. 

Thanks for reading my blog, friends! I hope you have a great weekend. Love to all. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

What's Up Wednesday


Happy Wednesday, friends! I took another unintentional break from this old blog partly because I've been busy in the mornings and also because I've been lazy at night and didn't write posts at night. I almost always do that these days and then schedule them to appear the next day or in a few days, or whenever. It's nice, but it takes extra thought and that's where I've been lacking. 

I thought a link-up would be a fun place to jump back in this week, so I'm linking up with Shay and her friend Shaeffer for this post.

What we're eating this week:

I always seem to be in a dinner rut. I made chicken and rice soup Monday night, we had tacos/nachos last night, tonight is on your own night or leftover night because I have church, tomorrow night I'm making pasta with salad and bread, and Friday night is still undecided. I usually eat the leftovers on the weekend nights because most of the time I'm here alone. (I'm not complaining.)

What I'm reminiscing about:

I keep going through ALL THE PICTURES of these two. I'm in denial that they're graduating from high school! It doesn't even seem possible.

What I'm loving:

These days. I'm soaking them all in, while everyone still lives here. We have a revolving door of friends of my sons who come and go at all hours of the day and I know when they start moving out soon that I will miss the Ring doorbell notifications that blow up my phone all the livelong day. And yes, I said that in a funny way, but I'm not kidding.

What we've been up to:

Coming and going! Everyone works, everyone makes their own plans, I'm just here cooking for the people who may or may not be here and just trying to keep up. Lately, I've been on the hunt for one extra graduation ticket. We've never had tickets for our homeschool graduations, but thanks to the dreaded C word that has changed everything, they have to issue tickets now and each family only receives ten. If you do the math, you'll come to the conclusion that for the remaining four of us and the six grandparents we have equals ten, and I was desperately searching for ONE MORE. My friend Angela had one to spare for me, so I met with her last night and picked it up. It was also really sweet getting to catch up with her and another friend that came to the church where they were meeting for a few minutes. We used to be in Bible study together.

What I'm dreading:

I can't really think of anyone thing other just the really hot and humid days of summer, but my mom-in-love gave me the BEST news today and that is that her neighborhood pool is opening in just one month! I cannot wait to resume our weekly swims together!

What I'm working on:

I'm finishing up the writing portion that I am responsible for on our next Bible study at church. We're studying Esther starting in the fall of this year and I can't wait! I am finishing up this week and over the weekend and we have meetings next week to go over it all. I'd love your prayers for the five of us, regarding this! My other friends and writing team members are Amy, Barbee, Dedee and Lynn. 

What I'm excited about:

I'm dreaming of summer, even though I don't love the hot and humid weather. I cannot wait to swim and read beachy books, I've got a weekend trip with best friends planned for early in June, I always love finding a show to binge watch over the summer, and I love having no schedule that is set in stone. Also, I'm in a new phase of life and am retiring my homeschool mom status with the impending graduation of Jonah and Noah. 

What I'm watching/reading:

I just got to the final season of One Tree Hill, which is all I've been watching lately, but I also love Home Town on HGTV and am starting Rock the Block when this season of Hometown is over. (I have two episodes left.) I'm finishing up my book on prayer and I started reading my favorite series of books again. I love to do that every year—each year, I pick a favorite series and read them from start to finish all over again. 

What I'm listening to:

This album by CeCe Winans is my current favorite thing right now. 

I also love all the Revive Our Hearts podcast and have been listening to that each day and a few other podcasts. My other favorite right now is by Jennie Allen. 

What I'm wearing:

Ugh. Moving right along. I go through phases where I hate everything I own and I'm in the throes of that right this moment. I must have tried on everything I owned on Sunday before I just gave up and wore my favorite new shirt again.

What I'm doing this weekend:

Probably the same as usual—my husband will probably work some (or a lot) and I'll hang out here at home. I never mind this! I have no idea what I'll do Saturday, because my mom and sister usually go out, but Mom will be in Denver seeing our other sisters. Church is on Sunday! 

What I'm looking forward to in May:

My youngest sons graduate! A week after they graduate, they're going to the beach with their friends. 

What else is new:

I think I've covered everything! 

Thanks for reading my blog! Love to all. 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Friday Favorites, 4.23.21


Happy Friday, friends! I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals for this blog post.

It's been a good week, one that has gone by pretty fast. I've been equally productive and lazy, so there's that and I am not feeling very motivated to do things in my house, which is really terrible. I'm not quite sure how to get over this feeling of not being motivated, so I'm praying the Lord helps me through this. I know it's not a big deal, but I really need to do some things around here that I keep putting off. 

Anyway, on with this blog post. I'll start with last Friday.

Being out of town with and getting to know these sweet ladies was one of my favorite moments ever. We were minus one, but we make up the writing team for our church and we write Bible studies together. We're currently working on our third one, on the book of Esther. We have written on Hosea and Philippians as well. 

I mentioned this on yesterday's post, but going to church on Sunday is my favorite. I love being able to be there in person and participating in the worship and listening to a great sermon. Does anyone else love taking notes in church?! It's my favorite! I pay better attention when I keep up with our Pastor by taking notes and because I love to write, those skills have always been easy for me. 

I'm currently reading about four books and I keep switching them up. This one pictured above is the first in my favorite series of all time, The Yada Yada Prayer Group series by Neta Jackson. I like to take a favorite series and re-read it every year and this was my pick for 2021. There are a bunch to follow after this one, so I'll keep going until I reach the end! 

This was one of my favorite days of reading in the Bible this week. I love the story of Joshua and how he led the Israelites over in the Promised Land. 

I'm also reading in the book of John, which is another favorite book in the Bible. 

I don't have pictures for the rest of these, but other favorites include seeing my mom this week and spending part of the day with her, then going out to dinner last night with one of my best friends, Andrea. We never run out of things to catch up on and the end of our time ended on a very personal note, which I'm glad for, so that we can pray for each other. In a moment of vulnerability, I just started talking and we both got really transparent with each other. I rarely get like that with anyone, but I am glad I did. It felt good and I know she will be faithful to pray, as will I. 

And on that note, I will end with this statement about prayer—prayer is very important in the life of a believer. I have been known to fly through prayer or skip it all together some mornings when I'm in a hurry, but the Lord has really been showing me more about the importance of it through His Word and through the book that I'm reading (one of the four I'm currently in the middle of). I used to have a prayer partner and we met every week to pray in our church's prayer room. I always loved those days when we would meet, but in the years since she has married and started her family and we rarely even see one another these days, thanks especially to the dreaded c-word that shut everything down. Also, she is in a busy season of life, which I fully remember and understand, so it's not practical for us to meet right now to pray. 

I say all that to say that I'm in search of a prayer partner again. Ideally it would be someone very near to me that we could meet regularly to do this. I'm going to start faithfully praying for the Lord to bring me someone. Have you ever prayed with anyone like this on a regular basis? My friend Denise is the one who showed me the importance of this and I've missed out on this for the last few years! When you pray with someone, you very quickly grow close to them because you're letting them into the very deep and private recesses of your heart. I will say that if you want this kind of thing as well, that prayer partners should always be the same sex. You should also look for someone reputable, meaning not a gossip. You have to feel comfortable enough with them to share very private things that you wouldn't necessarily want anyone else to hear. It should also be someone who is serious about praying and when you meet. While you need to take a few minutes to share with each other, you need to be about the business of prayer.

I'd love if you'd help me pray that I find someone to pray with weekly again. Prayer is something I am very passionate about and have been for years—I've just been lazy about it lately, thanks to Satan being good at his job. I was one in a group who started up our mom's prayer group in some of our local schools, because a teacher friend there lost two of her sons in one day and we all gathered in the back parking lot one day to pray for her. Thus, Mom's In Touch (or Mom's In Prayer) was formed at that local elementary school and also at the middle school. A group of us met every Monday morning in someone's home and for two hours, we would pray and then write cards for who we prayed for and make little goodie bags for them to take up to the schools to let them know we had prayed for them.

Well, speaking of prayer, I need to go do that now, so I will wrap up this post. Thanks for reading my blog! Love to all.  

Thursday, April 22, 2021

thankful Thursday


Happy Thursday, friends! 

I think it's so important to find things to be thankful for in life. I try to live like this everyday, but this doesn't mean that I don't have bad days. I know that part of the reason why I am like this is just because it's who I am. I try to be a positive thinker and am always looking on the bright side of things. The other reason I do this is because if I don't, the other junk in the world gets to me. I don't keep a journal for this, but I will occasionally make a list of things in the journal I use daily. If you didn't already read it, you can read my post from yesterday here, but I love to remember. It's biblical and it's faith building!

Here are a few things I have been thankful for lately.

It is such an honor to be able to attend church services each week. I say that in the plural form, because I also go on Wednesday nights. I love our Pastor and sometimes I will sit in the choir rehearsal room to watch the service after I'm done singing with the choir, because I don't like to miss any of the sermon. This was me last week. I love a desk when I'm writing, so I was all spread out with my Bible and journal, a pen, my glasses and a bottle of water. 

I have loved being part of another class on  Wednesday nights! I am in a class taught by my Pastor that is based on a book we're reading on prayer. I keep talking about the book because it is so good and has been instrumental in changing my prayer life over the last three weeks. You should read it! It's called How to Develop a Powerful Prayer Life by Dr. Gregory Frizzell. Here is a link for you in case you're interested. It's a short, powerful read. 

I am thankful that my husband never minds when I go out with friends. I am seeing one of my best friends tonight, Andrea—it's been WAY TOO long since we've laid eyes on one another. I'll make sure and have dinner ready for them and then I'll meet her at our favorite place, most likely. Last night after church, I joined two friends at our new Slim Chickens for dinner and to catch up. It's been a couple of weeks since we had been able to do that and we had a lot of talking to do. We also started talking about our next girls trip! It's coming up in June.

Needless to say, I am always thanking the Lord for godly friends. I love this Bible verse about friendship—

Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

Quite honestly, I am thankful to be at this stage in my life. I do miss my boys being younger a lot, but I also really love their ages and independence right now. It's easy for me to be able to do things like this more often now, because of their ages. 

I am thankful that today I get to stay home all day! I love being at home. I have plans to try and finish my portion of the writing on the Bible study we're working on right now. We have two meetings coming up in the next two weeks, so I really need to focus on this today and try to finish. 

Speaking of that, I suppose I'll wrap this post up with that last one. I am linking up today with Penny from Penny's Passion. Thanks for reading my blog! Love to all. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

stones of rememberance

I am such a sentimental person. I don't treasure a lot of earthly goods, but when it comes to instances and words/gifts from our parents, each other or our sons, I am likely to hold onto those forever. I also love the art of journaling and the physical act of writing things out. There are reasons why and they tie into where I read this morning in my quiet time. 

I am still reading in my Everyday with Jesus Bible and today found me in Joshua 4. I love these verses so much, particularly verses 1-7 and 21-24. This is when the Israelites were crossing over into the Promised Land and Joshua was their leader. They had to cross over the Jordan river to get there and after they'd crossed, the Lord spoke to Joshua, telling him to pick twelve men, one from each tribe, to each select a stone and carry it with them to set it down at the place where they would spend the night. They each did that and Joshua told them to let that be a sign to them, that in the future when their children would ask what those meant, they would be able to explain to them that the Lord had allowed them to cross that river on dry ground by stopping the flow of the water.

I love verse 24—

This is so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD's hand is strong, and so that you may always fear the LORD your God.

It's important to know the Bible passages in the proper context, but every verse can be used to encourage us in our own lives. I love this passage because it's so important to remember. We all go through times when we seem to be in a rut, spiritually speaking, but usually those ruts are of our own making. I know I get into those ruts when I don't take the time to really pray each day and when I neglect reading the Word of God. But I think we also get into ruts when we don't take the time to remember all that God has done in our lives. 

This is one reason why I love to use a journal. Ideally everyday that I read in the Bible, I'd take time to journal about what I just read. I may not do that, but I do write down other things that are important, like when I prayed about something specific and then the Lord answered. It's important to keep a prayer journal for this reason. It's important to remember so that we can tell our kids and our grandkids about each instance, whether a physical need was answered as a result of prayer or whether it's part of our own testimony. 

Our kids need to know. Our grandkids need to know! Other people need to know, as well. I was just telling the story a few days ago about how God has provided miracles in our family. I have so many to share, but one such case was when Jonah was little and having issues with his kidneys. They did scan after scan and the doctors were about 95% sure that he'd been born with just one kidney. It's common in twins for something like that to happen in their little bodies. Jonah was scheduled for some more intensive (and invasive) tests one week and that week on Sunday night before, we were at church and our pastor at the time said that he really felt led to ask if anyone was there that night who needed prayer over a kidney issue. Todd went and got Jonah out of the nursery and we gathered around with our family in the faith and prayed over his little four year old body. Later that week we went back to the doctor and guess what all of a sudden showed up on his ultrasound monitor? A second kidney, where only a shadow had been. (I may not have told this story exactly as it happened, but please know that my intent is pure, though...I've just slept a lot since then and this is how I remember it in my mind.)

God provided that boy a kidney! He would have been fine with just one kidney, of course, but that's not the point—the point is that God provided for Jonah in that prayer service what he needed, so that He would get the glory. 

We've shared this with all of our sons and we always make sure that we give God the credit for this and I know it's so that they will know that the Lord's hand is strong and so that they would always fear the Lord their God, just like Joshua 4:24 says. It's important to remember! I was talking to a friend about this the other day and one of us said the words, "But look how far the Lord has brought you! He's not about to leave you now." It's important and it's biblical for us to remember like this. 

Your turn! I'd love to hear something God has done in your life. What is your "stone of remembrance"? Thanks for reading along, friends—I pray these words encourage you. Love to all. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

things I love about all of my sons

Happy Tuesday, friends. I thought I'd take some time and share some qualities about my sons that I love and that mean the world to me. I hope you enjoy!

I love that when I make dinner at night, they all thank me and compliment the food. Noah has done this forever and for a long time was the only one to ever express his gratitude, but they've all picked up on this and they try to be the first one to say something now. 

I love that when I come home from a trip, the house is clean. This was the case on Saturday when I came home from my little mountain retreat. The bed was made, the floors were vacuumed and the laundry was being worked on and was mostly done. 

I love that when we eat, they mess with each other. I love their relationship with one another and it's something I have prayed for ever since they were little boys. I've always said that friends will come and go, but the ones seated beside them at the dinner table would be around for a lifetime. The Lord has been faithful and has answered this prayer of mine. They're all extremely close to one another.

I love their loyalty. They will defend their brothers no matter what. We've learned over the years that they're all kind of like a package deal, meaning that if a friend doesn't get along with one of them, that it's a problem. We found out quickly the ones who were trustworthy. 

I love that they're polite and do things that are old fashioned, like holding the door for someone and replying to someone using ma'am and sir. 

I love that with the exception of a couple of them early on, they haven't dated much or even at all. For a long time, I used to let this bother me, but as a sweet friend just recently pointed out to me, it may just mean that they know what they want and what they don't and they're unwilling to settle. I'd much prefer they not date at all than to date randomly and with no consideration to what they want in their future. 

I have said it before and I'll say it forever—I love their friendship. Of all the things I love most about them, that's at the top of the list. I am wrapping up this journey of homeschooling in a few days and of all the things we've done, that was the greatest blessing of my life. We had the gift of time on our side and the days when they were all at home were the most magical of days. We did so many fun things together and had the most fun making everything an adventure. I wouldn't trade these last eight years of my life for all the money and possessions in the world. The reason I mention that along with their friendship is that it was because of homeschooling that they're as close as they are. I will always be so grateful to God for allowing me the gift of being their mom and guiding me in our years together while they were in school. To Him be the glory.

I have a little plaque somewhere that my mom-in-love gave me one year for Christmas that reads, "Being a mother is a holy privilege." I agree wholeheartedly. I'm just treasuring all of these beautiful things in my heart.

Love to all. 

(I'm linking this post up with Erica's Tuesday Talk.)

Monday, April 19, 2021

mountain getaway

Happy Monday, friends! Last Wednesday morning, my friend Dedee came to pick me up and she and I drove to the mountains together to meet two other friends who were already there and waiting for us. Do you ever get kind of nervous traveling with people, especially ones that you really don't know all that well? Just me? I was a little nervous about the drive and the trip, but no less than five minutes after I got in her car, I was completely at ease. 

We made excellent time and were there around three thirty or so! We unloaded our car, took a tour of the house and got settled in. The purpose of this trick with these friends was to work on our next Bible study. There are five of us on the writing team and we were minus one, our fearless leader. We did get some things hammered out and we did talk a lot about the format and structure of what we need to work on, but I'll confess here that I didn't get a lot done. I had already done a big portion of my own and I work best when it's just me and in the quiet. We still got a lot done, collectively, and we had a blast together. 

The first full day was spent in comfy clothes and three of us didn't wear makeup. Lynn (the owner of the house and our host) took us out on this ATV on Friday and none of us died! We had so much fun on this thing! Her road is very twisty and steep in certain parts and the only time I may have screamed was when she took a shortcut and took us up a very steep hill to get back. We laughed our heads off, especially Barbee, who is right next to me—this thing makes her laugh like crazy!

We ate another really good dinner that night and we watched some teaching on Esther by David Arthur, Kay Arthur's son. They do Precept Upon Precept and we heard him teach on Esther 1 and 2. 

The final full day we had was spent playing. We got dressed and headed to a nearby town, where we ate lunch and shopped and shopped. They had really cute little boutiques everywhere we turned and we all looked for souvenirs to bring back home with us. We ate dinner out and ended our night by walking all over a huge general store, then headed back to the mountain. We were up with the sun the next morning, thanks to a whooper will, and packed up and loaded by 7:40. We hit the road ten minutes later and were back home before four on Saturday. It's always so much fun to travel, but it's also nice to be back home. Here are some more pictures from the trip:

The mountain was full of hairpin turns and these little buggies came FLYING by us. There were four or five of them!

For two mornings, I spent my quiet time on this swing looking at this view. It was gorgeous! I do my best talking to Jesus when I'm surrounded by beauty in the nature that God created. I'd pray, then I'd sit there to read.

I love pretty doors! 

I took this on our ATV ride back to their house that was originally going to be a barn. I did ask my friend permission to share these and she approved, before I decided to post these.

We each had our own room or space to sleep in. The house is set up for ministry retreats, so there were three rooms upstairs and sleeping nooks at both ends of the hallway. 

And each space and room had a setup identical to this one above. 

I love Scripture all over the walls! They have tons, everywhere you look. 

And this was what our work space looked like! 

I took these because I loved her backsplash and to remember that I made that trendy pour-over coffee that everyone talks about. Their house is solar powered and real coffee makers take tons of energy! Who knew? It was easy to make, thanks to Lynn's instructions and one morning I was the first one up.

This was our play day! Lynn is on the bottom right, then Dedee is behind her and Barbee is behind me. We know how to play and be serious, but we also know how to dress up and have fun. We laughed ourselves silly while we were together and I feel like we're all the new kind of friends now. Lots of memories were made and we know each other so well now. I'm so thankful for godly friends, the kind who are iron-sharpening like these friends. I feel so very fortunate to be even a small part of this circle of friends. We missed our Amy and thought about her and prayed for her the whole time we were gone, so hopefully she'll join us on our next adventure. 

Thanks for reading my blog! Love to all. 

(I'm linking up with Tanya for this post.)

Friday Favorites, 7.12.2024.

  Hi, friends! As you can tell, I'm forcing myself to be here often, because my life needs to resume some sort of normalcy right now; th...