Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why Don't You?

This week we've had Vacation Bible School at our church. I've been working with 6th graders and I must say, I think this is the best time I've had working in VBS! I've really enjoyed the theme (Big Apple Adventure), but more importantly I've enjoyed the way that the music and Bible study time have come together to teach young people about Christ. One of my favorite songs is "Why Don't You?". It's fun, but it also communicates the Gospel of Christ.

I hope you enjoy it. Please pray for us as we finish our last night tomorrow. My prayer is that we planted seeds into the hearts of these kids and that the Lord would continue to help them grow. I was able to pray with a little girl tonight about receiving Jesus as her Savior and Lord. It was a blessing. God is good! If you don't know Christ, consider why don't you?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Go West!

Last Monday, the hubby and I got on a jet plane headed for Phoenix, Arizona for a Christian conference. It was a wonderful time of fun, fellowship, learning, and relaxation! Here are some of the highlights of our trip. Phoenix, by the way, is a great town! We never had trouble with traffic (which really surprised us...even after leaving a Diamondbacks game) and it was fairly easy to navigate. We would definitely recommend it!

Our first meal out...The Old Spaghetti Factory! I was so excited to see this great place so close to our hotel. We were trying to figure out where to eat our first night, and I was really glad we turned around after we passed this place. I've eaten at one in Atlanta a long time ago and had great memories. It did not disappoint!

Spumoni ice cream. I knew how good it was going to be and took a picture to remember it! Just in case you don't know, spumoni is a mix of cherry, pistacio and chocolate ice creams. Yum-O!

There were several well known speakers at the conference this year. Look who we happened to's John Piper! We didn't realize he was doing a book signing and I really wanted to meet him. So I convinced Joe that we needed to hurry and buy a book and get him to sign it. Just as we had picked one out, Piper started to leave. I was disappointed at first, but then got really excited when he started walking right next to us. My kind husband stopped him, introduced us, and we exchanged a few words. We kind of laughed afterwords because I wanted to meet him, but I don't feel very cool when trying to talk to "famous" people. When you have about two seconds to say something, you want it to be good. Well, I don't have the gift of knowing what to say. I feel like a dork. Because of this, I hesitate to even say anything. Thankfully my hubby isn't afraid and is so laid I get him to go first so he can introduce me. Despite my dorkiness, we got to meet several folks this way. We went up to David Platt and the hubby introduced me. I told Platt, "thanks for all you do," which my hubby and I later laughed at (hey, I didn't think it was too bad). Oddly, Joe was talking to someone on the phone and Rick Warren came up to us, introduced himself, and paid me a compliment while shaking my hand. I was kind of stunned and excited that I didn't say anything too goofy. Lastly, while we were walking to our gate at the Phoenix airport to head home, I look to my left and see one of the actors in the movie Courageous, which we were able to screen one of the nights at the conference. I felt very relaxed and just said, "hey, we just saw you in the movie the other night!" and proceeded to tell him how great he was and how much we enjoyed it. He asked that we pray for him and I said we would. I redeemed myself! Joe thought I was very laid back and not trying too hard to be cool! : )

Downtown really was a nice city!

The conference was about a block or so away from Chase Field, which is where the Arizona Diamondbacks play. We were excited that there was a game playing that we could attend. It was a lot of fun!

The stadium was really nice. There was even a little pool and whirlpool that some kids were swimming in right next to right field!

The following pics are of one of the most amazing places I've ever seen!! The Grand Canyon. To be able to go here was a dream come true. I've wanted to go here for so long and it did not disappoint. In this pic, you can see a little bit of the Colorado River. It's right beyond the trail on the bottom of the canyon.

One of my first views of the canyon...breathtaking!

One of the places you can walk out and look. We went out there! Kind of I'm glad we had a rail! Some of the overlooks did not have a rail and dropped right off. I can see how there have been hundreds of people who have died at the canyon. In fact, they had a book in the bookstore about all of the people who had died and how! In case you didn't know, it's not wise to get intoxicated at the canyon...I can't tell you how many deaths there were because of that!

A view of some of the trails from up above. And no...we didn't go on the trails! Joe walked about five minutes on one and headed back. I didn't even go there!

Joe standing on a big rock at one of the outlooks.

As I look at this picture, it kind of seems unreal that we were there!

I have so many pictures of the was hard to just choose a few. If you're looking for a great place to vacation, I would definitely recommend Arizona in the summer. No gnats, the heat is a lot dryer, in Flagstaff the high was 76 degrees (I couldn't believe that!), and there are several things to do and see. I hope the rest of you are having a great summer!

God bless!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Most recent favorite things!

I haven't done a "favorite things" post in a while, and as I was trying to brainstorm about a good blog post, this topic came to mind! Of course, this is not an Oprah level favorite things, but more practical for everyday folks like me!

My first new favorite thing: the Kindle. Yes...I LOVE my Kindle. I knew I would like it, but I didn't realize how much I would love it. I was already kind of addicted to finding free books on Amazon before I even had a Kindle, but now I think I've reached a whole new level : ).

A few of the latest freebies include:
The Millennials by Thom Rainer and Jess Rainer
Wild Thing by Dandi Daley Mackall
The Prisoner in the Third Cell by Gene Edwards
Cotillion by Georgette Heyer
Leadership Prayers by Richard Kriegbaum
The Affectionate Adversary by Catherine Palmer
The Voyage of Promise by Kay Marshall Strom
Journey to the Well: A Novel by Diana Wallis Taylor
This Fine Life by Eva Marie Everson
Swan House by Elizabeth Musser
I hope they're all still free if you'd like them! Some stay free for a few weeks, others for just a few days.

My next new favorite thing...this cute dress from Old Navy! I got this as a gift and I tried it on tonight and LOVE it! It's gauzy and light...perfect for this hot Georgia summer. I'm a pretty modest girl, so I have to wear a tank top or shirt under this...and based on the reviews I read, I think pretty much anyone would. This dress got some negative reviews for being too big, but I like the roominess. I don't want my clothes too clingy anyway, especially in these temperatures. I'm so excited about wearing it this summer! And right now...dresses are on sale at Old Navy!

On a spiritual note, Angela Thomas' Women's Bible study, Brave!, is another new fav. I just finished facilitating it at our church and thought it was great. I'm not a big fan of just sitting and watching a DVD for 45 minutes for a Bible study, but I actually loved hearing Angela speak. She's so down to earth and almost all of the topics I could relate to. I would definitely recommend it! I also hope to attend Lifeway's dotMom conference in September of this year in Birmingham, AL. Angela will be one of the speakers there along with Priscilla Shirer, Vicki Courtney and a few others. There are also several breakout sessions that cover a variety of topics for Moms. I think it will be a great time of learning and fellowship!

On a writing note, and my last favorite of the day, I love the Seekerville blog at As I've tried to learn about writing Christian fiction, this blog has been an awesome resource! There are new entries each day from different fiction writers that offer tips and advice from their experience. They are also very generous! I have won three autographed books by three different authors, along with a Starbucks gift card and a free five page critique! As I continue to work on writing and (hopefully) publish a novel one day, I will credit this blog and its contributors as a big stepping stone. A big thanks to Melanie Dickerson, as well, for introducing me to the blog. Her book, "The Healer's Apprentice," is amazing and a Christy finalist! I would highly recommend it.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 6, 2011

School is out....summer is here!

We had our last day of school a week or so ago. Honestly, it's been a great year--better than I even expected! Homeschooling definitely agreed with all of us. The girls learned so much and did so well...I was SO proud of them! I especially loved the looks on their faces when they learned how to read a word. Priceless!

Our last day we had a water party. I also gave the girls a certificate for completing their first year of pre-k! Great job, girls!

So what's the plan for the summer? Well, one thing I did with the kids one night is let them help me fix supper. Sophie loves to help Mommy cook. On this night, Isaac wanted to help too! So I told them to pull up some chairs and let them spread butter on our toast. They loved it!

Let me be honest here. It is not easy for me to just let go and let them help me. I tend to want to just do it myself because I can go faster and I won't make the mess that they might make. But inside my heart I know that this is the thing that memories, family relationships, and experiences are made of. I have to let go of the way I want it done and let them try. I have to let them start at some point in their lives, and now, while their little faces are lit up with the desire to "help Mommy cook" I want to encourage them. I'm so glad I did. We had a great time together! I asked Joe if he would take a picture of us because I wanted to remember this. I also want to keep it as a reminder to include the children as much as I can in household activities.

So what's going on the rest of the summer? Well, thankfully we have some fun activities planned! The hubby and I are going to a conference in Arizona next week and we plan to drive to Grand Canyon one day!! I can hardly contain my excitement as this will be a great getaway for us as well as an adventure. Joe and I both love to travel, so this is a real treat! The kids will also have a blast spending a week with their grandparents and other family. They always love playing with their cousins and seeing family members. After that, we will be back in Eastman for our church's annual Vacation Bible School. I'll be teaching 6th grade this year. Hopefully everything will go smoothly! After that we head out to Panama City Beach! Woohoo! I know the kids will LOVE the beach. We didn't go last year, so this is Isaac's first year that he is able to run and play in the ocean and sand. I have a feeling that he is going to have a blast. I can't wait, either. It'll be great to spend time with family and get in the water!

I hope you all have a blessed summer and don't get too hot!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Shutterfly stuff

5x7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Even though I've spent half the day in my pjs, neglecting housework, I still managed to make a photo book for Sophie's firt year of homeschool, 5 cards, and a gift for someone special (it's a surprise!). I had a $30 credit on there, plus I got free shipping (code SHIP30), the cards were free (code DADCARD), and the secret thing was on sale, too. My total...$5 and change! Oh yeah! And now I'm doing this blog post so that hopefully I will receive $10 off my next purchase. I really love Shutterfly, guys. There were so many cute choices for the photo books and I think it's going to turn out really great. Now I need to return to reality and get busy! Thanks for reading!


Last week I made our traditional, once a week spaghetti. I love spaghetti. In fact, when I was pregnant with Sophie, I craved spaghetti. Thankfully, the kids love it, too.

We have a few food issues at our house. The hubby has bad acid reflux, so whatever I make can't be spicy or filled with a lot of flavorful spices...even if they're not "hot". Sophie has a food allergy of chicken, green beans, and broccoli. Every kid's dream, right?! Well, she actually likes all of those things. She can have them individually, but it was recommended that she didn't have them in combination with one another. The only two vegetables that Isaac will eat right now are tomatoes and corn. I still put other veggies on his plate, hoping his palate will change over time, but right now he's sticking to his guns. I even try to disguise some of the veggies, but he still figures it out. So with all of these "issues", making meals is often a challenge for me. It's hard to think creatively when all I really want to do is make something everyone will eat...and find it on sale! Praise the Lord that spaghetti works for everyone.

So we ate spaghetti and ice cream and Isaac says, "mmmmm....delicious." Except his "delicious" comes out..."alicious"...or something like that. I think it's so cute. So I grabbed the camera and tried to get him to say it again. I was so glad to catch it. It wasn't as long this time, but you get the jist of it.

I thought I'd also tell you how I make my spaghetti. It's easy...and pasta sauce and noodles are often on sale, so I always have some on hand. I start with a garlic clove, chopped, and 1 small onion or half of a large onion, chopped. I get those started in a warm pan with some olive oil. I sautee them for a minute or so and then I add my meat. We like ground turkey, ground beef, or even chicken (cut into chunks). I cook all of that together until my meat is done. The I strain it all together and wipe out my pan with a paper towel (just to get that extra grease out). Then I pour it all back in and add about a jar of spaghetti sauce. By this point, my noodles are cooking in some salted water. I let my sauce simmer and I add a little red wine vinegar to it along with a little ketchup (my mom does both of those and it gives it a little kick and some extra sweetness). When my noodles are done, the sauce is usually done, too. Another good side is some toast. I put some butter on some bread (French works really well) and then sprinkle it with a little Hidden Valley Ranch powder. If you pre-mix the powder and butter it works even better, but you know...sometimes I just want to do it fast. Then I pop it in the toaster or oven and I've got some ranch bread...good stuff! Hey...I know it's not gourmet, but it's definitely how we roll at our house! Enjoy!