Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Six places at our table

...............once again!! 

We are so excited to have Taylor living here with us in California!  In a whirlwind trip, we flew to IL, packed him up, and brought him home :):):) With the way things change around here, we're just trying to hang on and savor every moment!

This picture was from our 20th anniversary trip............that we took in January..............that included the kids............

We're so glad they came along!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Joyful New Year Wishes

I scrolled through FB posts and my favorite blogs, enjoying My Year in Review and My Word for 2014, the resolutions and words of encouragement making me smile. Everyone seemed so excited to welcome the new year, confident they could scale any hurdle that came their way. After a while I started to feel a little......well, defeated.

Before the year even began.

Thinking back on 2013, I was recalling all the things I wanted to accomplish, but didn't, all the ways I wanted to bless people, but hadn't.  And on and on, you know the drill.

I should insert here that it probably didn't help that I was home alone, with a fever and a rapidly growing mountain of used tissues. The rest of my family was at a New Year's party with great friends, fabulous buffet, plenty of laughter and games. I had sent them out the door with food and lots of assurances that I would be fine and they should just go have fun.

But now? I was throwing my own little (pity) party. :( 

Ridiculous, I know. It wasn't that I couldn't come up with countless ways we had been blessed and numerous times God had shown Himself in unmistakable ways.  My thoughts just kept going to how my 'failures' weighed heavier than my 'successes'.  And what about the things God had put on my heart that I hadn't accomplished.....notice all the I's and my's? Yeah, me too.

Unfortunately, the feeling still lingered when I woke up on New Years Day.

I took my Bible out to the patio, setting up my chair in the sun. As my skin began to warm and the soft breeze blew my hair, I started to breathe in the fresh air deeply. 

'Lord, I desperately need something from you, a word, anything, to counter this feeling of defeat. I can't let the devil win this battle on the very first day of a new year!!"

I gazed across the hillside, bright greens sparkling, the mountains a shadow in the background. It was almost too beautiful to take in, the fresh start of a new day, a new year....

Snatches of songs and verses floated through my mind as I closed my eyes and started to relax.

"....all that is within me, bless his holy name."

"....because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him."

"I'll praise You in this storm, and I will lift my hands....."

".....which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"

A complete change in my attitude, a spark kindling and growing brighter...with hope welling up inside of me, the negative thoughts receded until they were completely gone.

My word from God.........was HOPE.

Combat defeat with hopeThank You, Lord

I opened to begin my reading through the Bible in a year.
In the notes before Genesis it said:

"Read Genesis........and hope!"

Wishing all of you a blessed year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

More 'Celebrating 50' Photos


Sorry, Dad, but I think these new recruits are going to need a few more years of Basic Training!!

Would anyone else like to know what words of wisdom were being exchanged here???

Sisters. Beautiful.
Okay, I just can't take all the cuteness....................


Monday, December 16, 2013

It's Beginning to Look...

A lot like Christmas?
I still haven't gotten used to both of these being in front of my house simultaneously!!
But we're having no trouble at all getting into the spirit of things...........

Spreading a little Christmas cheer at the local Kmart!!

It's so fun adding new traditions to our old, familiar ones!

New people, new experiences, they all add a richness to the season. I always used to be so fearful of change, not realizing what blessings I was missing when I held so tightly to everything familiar and comfortable. I selfishly wanted to hoard this time for myself and my family. Just the opposite of the whole reason for the season!!! In case you couldn't tell, I'm a very slow learner.

Not that we shouldn't cherish the special things we do each year....just that we should be more open to the opportunities God gives us to touch the lives of others. Hope this finds you enjoying old traditions and making new!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

50 Years + 12 Kids

What a weekend!

I can hardly believe it's over already, but we enjoyed every single moment.  Never before have I been so aware of the unique blessing I have in my family! Listening to the childhood memories of my 11 siblings, my heart was filled with so many overwhelming emotions. We cried some and laughed a whole lot more. From the oldest to the youngest, we recounted incidents and stories that shaped our character and helped make us who we are today.

Was every moment blissful? No. Were my parents perfect? Of course not! Did they give us a warm, loving, safe home and live an example of a godly marriage?  Absolutely!!

Not only did they raise us and stay sane, but they did it well.  My prayer is that I can have a fraction of their patience, wisdom, and sense of humor as I attempt to nurture my own children. 


50 Years Ago, modeled by Lincoln and Nicole:

The Open House was beautiful and warm, full of loving family and friends, all joining together to celebrate this amazing milestone of half a century together!!

The Sibs.............
Dad used to tell people when they asked how many children he had, "Six and a half dozen." :)
Psalm 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord...


Thursday, December 5, 2013

More 'Doing'

"If you've got business to do, and God has put you in a place to do it, get out of your own way and get on with it......How can we run if we keep looking this way and that and checking our feet and wondering how we look as we run?"


This was something I read today....pretty sure I was intended to read it! This is definitely an area I struggle with. Thinking I have to have everything figured out, lined up, organized, details planned before I take one teeny tiny little step. That's not necessarily how God wants us to operate. More often than not, I try to "help" God figure it out when I really should just square my shoulders and march out there and do it.

Take it from someone who, fifteen years ago, couldn't bring herself to spontaneously entertain if the house wasn't in spotless-top-to-bottom condition, this has not been an overnight transformation.  Probably because the root of the problem is selfishness and pride.

So, more 'doing', less 'thinking'. Check.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving Week

What a whirlwind!
So much to do....enjoying every minute doing it!!

Taylor got in after midnight on Monday the 25th so we waited until Tuesday to celebrate Jackson's birthday.

Brunch with cousins!!

Then family photos at the beach - the boys were soooo into it.........

Actually, it went great (we may have bribed them with Islands Burgers...)!

Wednesday food prep.
Amazing how much can be accomplished if you only have one hour until tee time... :)
Laser tagging with San Diego young kids - what a great group!

We were blessed to be joined by this amazing family....

TIP:  If the kids sleep over, you get a catered, four-course breakfast that is absolutely FAB and guaranteed to fill up 8 kids (including 3 teenagers!!)

To finish up a perfect week:
Tree Trimming.......

 AND 4th grade mission project!