Monday, August 26, 2019

Birthdays, First Day of School and More!

 Hello friends! :)

It has been a wonderful August. We've had super hot days as well as lovely comfortable days (like's in the 70's with sunshine!). We've enjoyed slowness and busyness! Each day is different!

One exciting thing is that Xavier turned 16 in the middle of August! He had a cookout with some friends and had a really nice time! Chris grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and it was overall just an enjoyable evening! X is now anxiously awaiting me to take him to get his driver's permit! Ack! I feel like I was just doing this with Madelyn yesterday! Someone slow down the clock!

My sister, her husband and children moved to a bigger house this month as well. My mom was over there a lot to help....I drove over a few times when I could to help as well (She lives 45 minutes or so it takes quite a chunk of the day to travel there and I couldn't get there all the time). They are settling in well and I think this new house is just great for them! I am really happy for them!

While a lot of area public schools started children actually began schooling last week. It is Madelyn's senior year. I'm not quite sure how to fathom I feel like I just graduated (although we had our 20 year class reunion a week or two ago already! haha! Class of '99). Xavier is a sophomore and Jaxson is in 8th grade. As you can see below...Madelyn didn't want her picture taken on the first day of school....(don't all my children just looked thrilled to be back to the books? haha)

My birthday was this past weekend. I had a glorious day! Truly! I started out with a workout (as usual) but it was even better because Chris came in to lift with me. We try to lift together most Saturdays. I sure love my man! I workout every day....but getting to workout with your other half is *the best*!

We got some home projects done that day, the weather was amazing....then he took me to the next town over where we got supper, shopped at TJ Maxx for a little bit and then he took me to look for a bicycle at Walmart! I've been wanting a bike...not a mountain bike....but a road bike that I can go long distances on if I want and maybe compete with. We couldn't find one that was sized right for me or that I we'll keep looking. Honestly, the cruiser bikes are *so* cute and I would LOVE one of those...they have them in cute colors and a basket on the front! But I want something I can really move those won't work for me, unfortunately!

38 doesn't feel too bad, I must admit. I thought getting older would be depressing....but it's really not! It's bittersweet to realize how the time passes quickly and my children grow and change so fast...but at the same time, I love how the Lord teaches me things as I age....I love to grow in wisdom and knowledge. Plus, Chris and I are so perfectly matched....I honestly praise God for him Our relationship grows and intertwines us so beautifully. I have been with him over half my life. There isn't anyone else I'd rather be with. *swoon*

The little cupboard in our kitchen that we have been using as an island for years worked well...but it always felt too low to me. I asked Chris if we could get a butcher block to put on top. Low and behold...he found the top to our old island in the garage. He sanded it down really well and it fits perfectly on top of our cupboard island! I am over the moon about it! It makes for a much nicer island! :) You can also see, in the background there, flowers and a gift certificate from my children (for my birthday). They all chipped in together and got me a gift certificate to get my nails done. I never spend money on that sort of they wanted to treat me! It'll be fun to get a little pampered!

Yesterday, we had a lovely time worshiping the Lord at church in the morning. Came home to have lunch and a nice nap. I got up and ran and did some ab work and then showered so we could head out to a game night with family friends of ours! We had such a great time! Lots of laughter, talking and fun (and the guys had a good time target shooting with their bows). So, so grateful for the brothers and sisters in Christ the Lord has put in our's so nice to have great friends with so much in common! :)

Today I have gotten my workout in this I need to go out and work on mowing the back yard....(Kids are working on their schooling right now!)...but quickly, I wanted to share a few of the new sticker listings in my shop! They are great for use in your planner, on your calendar and more! Since we are basically a single income family...this just helps me to earn a little extra to add to the budget each month. :o)

Thank you for visiting! I pray your August has been wonderful as well....although that's not meaning every day is perfect and glorious...but trying to find the joy in each day the Lord gives us makes for happier days, weeks, months and years!

I hope you will visit again soon!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Committed to the Pursuit of Holiness

Holiness, Day by Day by Jerry Bridges is an absolutely fantastic book to read devotionally. I read it alongside of my daily Bible reading. I wanted to share something with you that I read the other day. I pray it convicts your heart as it did mine!

"...When we commit ourselves to the pursuit of holiness, we need to ensure that our commitment is actually to God, not simply to a holy lifestyle or a set of moral values. The people of my parent's generation were generally honest, chaste, sober, and thrifty. They were committed to those values, but they were not necessarily committed to God. Many of them were outstanding moralists and even church people, but they were not committed to God. They were committed to their values, not to God. 

As believers we need to be careful that we don't make a similar mistake. We can be committed to a set of Christian values or to a lifestyle of discipleship without being committed to God Himself. But Paul said to offer yourselves to God, and in doing that commit yourselves to the pursuit of holiness in order to please Him."

~Jerry Bridges p.115 Holiness, Day by Day
(emphasis mine!)

How easy is it to try to live "right" but not being doing it truly for the Lord and His glory? We can be wonderfully moral people but if we aren't pursuing holiness to please Christ....then that "moral living" has done nothing for us. Let's make sure we are living a life pleasing to God...all for Him and not just to be *good*. Because without Him, even all our good deeds are as filthy rags.

Thanks for stopping by friends. I know my readership has gone down a lot because of my lack of posting...but unlike a lot of people...I don't use my blog as a money maker. I don't have ads on my blog and don't earn money when people visit me here. So, it's just a simple online journal that sometimes I just lack the time to address. I always intend to do better....but just don't post as much as I would like. :) I pray you found encouragement here if the Lord brought you by today! I'd love to hear from you if you want to leave a comment! 

I gotta get going! Xavier has a physical in less than an hour (so he can get his driver's permit....but we also have to reapply for a social security card for him...argh...we have all of our family's except his for some reason. It has gotten itself lost. So...trying to get things done so he can take the test asap. He's so excited! He turns 16 next week!). 

Have a lovely rest of your week! 

Linked up at: A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Thursday, August 1, 2019

"Fairest of the months...

...Ripe summer's queen
The hey-day of the year
With robes that gleam with sunny sheen
Sweet August doth appear."

~R. Combe Miller

Oh, how horrible I am at blogging now. It's a shame really...but to be honest, life is just a different sort of *busy* now that it wasn't when the children were smaller. Now my children are young adults and doing adult-like things....working, driving etc! I am still busy at home....mowing, keeping up with housework and well as working out at the Y every day. I took the summer off from teaching spin (as the classes dwindle when the weather is nice) and will pick it back up again at the end of August. I have been personal training people at the Y through the summer....that has been going well. My 20 year class reunion is coming up this month and I've been trying to help get that ready and organized as well.

That top picture is one of my favorites. I don't even know who took it and how I came to have it....but it shows Chris and me...and my dad on the right. The year was 2000 (and look how cute my then-boyfriend ~ now/husband was!). We were at the public school to see my sister at her prom. I guess I love to look at that picture because I like seeing us young...and knowing that the Lord brought us together and has given me a lovely life with this man!

My Madelyn turned 18 last month! Yes, 18! If you have followed my blog from the have watched her grow up! I still struggle to wrap my head around the fact that my little curly-haired sweetie is now 18 years old! The days turn into weeks...which turn into months and then years! Ack! Time just keeps rolling by ~ Xavier turns 16 this month and is eager to get his driver's permit! I'm quite glad Jaxson is still 13...I'm trying to keep him young! Not sure I can make that happen though! ;)

 Speaking of Jaxson....he has made this awesome gnome garden (by himself...I had nothing in this!)...

The little gnome items are so cute! He used sand dollars they got at the shore in Massachusetts (when the kids went there with my mom and my aunt) to make the paths. His flowers have been blooming and looking beautiful! 

Life hasn't been all work and no play...we have enjoyed fellowship with friends, picnics, swimming, and the like on the weekends! :)

We've been cleaning out our shed. It was in a terrible state of disarray and disorganization. Chris and I (with help from the children) worked hard to fix the roof, and go through stuff inside the shed (I have no pictures of it...but it is not exciting anyway!). It's a shed/work space. It's a great size so I will be using it when I make wreaths for the Cancer Society. Remember how I made them last year as a sort of apprentice? Well, the lady gave me the business so I will be *quite* busy this fall! I'm so nervous! I've ordered trees and supplies and feel like I am on top of things but it's still a bit nerve-racking!

As you can see in the pic above and the one boys and I painted our garage! I got paint that was created to match the siding of our house. It looks so much better than the orange block it used to be (don't worry...I had Chris's "OK" to do it!). It was a lot of work but I'm so glad we did it. I repainted the trim white too. I also painted our front porch as you can see a couple pictures below...

I have been slowly getting ready for our new homeschool year as well...trying to make sure Madelyn will have all the credits she needs to graduate (as she is a senior this year)....and getting Xavier's credits straight as he enters his sophomore year. Jaxson is entering 8th grade so we don't have to worry about credits with his schooling yet. We'll probably start a year in the middle of this month.

AND....last but not least...I have some new script stickers in my etsy shop...(there are others in my shop as well ~ and planning more to come)...


I am still seeking to honor the Lord and glorify Him in everything I do. He is my all in all and He is always first and foremost in my life. He is so good.

I pray you are well! Thank you for visiting me here. I do always plan on blogging more....but the time just slips by much quicker than I expect. Until next time, Lord willing...


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

CCHS Formal Night 2019

Our homeschool co-op holds a formal every spring. I offered to help with decorating and Chris and I chaperoned! 

It's held at a local country club. It already has white lights strung up and a nice dance floor but it needed something *more*. My mom has a beautiful, creative mind and she let us use a lot of her great decorating stuff to make it special for the kids!

We hung gold stars and my mom even purchased color disco lights that we hooked up to hit the dance floor...

The food table pic is a bit blurry...but it gives you an idea of how lovely it looked as well. My mom made those fantastic flower cookies on the right of the table...

My mom also let us use her punch fountain. It was put together wrong at we had a bit of fixing to do (my mom and Chris worked on that)...but soon it was flowing beautifully...

 My Madelyn at her junior formal...

Xavier and his friend, Renee (who is one of Madelyn's bffs). He invited her to go to the formal with him...

Mama and Mad selfie...

My honey and me...

 The kids...dancing and having a lovely time...

This Christian co-op is a blessing to us. We just love our friends there. None of us our perfect...but we all live to the glory of Christ! This formal is such a sweet thing. There is no inappropriate dancing...just fun. A lot of the boys are real gentlemen and will ask girls to dance who are standing on the sides (their fathers have taught them well!). They don't slow dance inappropriately either. There was proper hand placement...and distance between them (without looking ridiculous).

I think the kids all had a really good night. Xavier wasn't dancing much (I blame that on 15 year old awkwardness....but he said next year he is definitely dancing!) as well as some other boys who I think just felt nervous. But we'll just keep encouraging them to have fun!

It was a fun evening for us chaperones as well! But oh my, exhausting! I was so ready to hit the hay after cleaning up! I look forward to it all again next year, Lord willing! :)

I have finally taken the time to transfer pics from my phone to my computer so I can post some things! I know I am not keeping up with my blog like I used to....but this is just a different season of life! :o)

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you are having a lovely week!

Monday, April 8, 2019

"Do all the good you can...

...By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can, 
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can, 
As long as ever you can."

~John Wesley

Good morning! It's warming up here in Western PA and we are over-the-moon happy about it! The cold gets old after a while. Sometimes I want to move to Alaska to just be more secluded...and then I remember the long cold season there...I definitely couldn't do that! I love that as it warms up we get to spend more time outside! Plus, if we were more secluded it would make it much harder to share the gospel! We need to run *to* people and not away...even when society around us seems to be falling apart at the seams! 

In our "pantry" room...

“Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us—a crucified God—must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world.” 

~John Piper

It's not even 8:30am yet and already I have had a good start to the day. The bed is made, laundry is going, I've done some tidying and sweeping, emptied the dishwasher and have pork in the crock pot (with a mixture over it that I made to make pulled pork. I've never made pulled pork we'll see how it goes!). I also make Chris's coffee and lunch every day and send him off to work. :) I am not trying to fluff my own feathers, so to speak....I guess I just want to share the joys in taking care of our husbands and homes! Starting the day right helps make the rest of the day go better!

My desk...

I am participating in a month-long triathlon at our local Y. You have a month to bike 112 miles, run/elliptical 26 miles and swim 2 miles (or for those who don't want to can use the rower and go 12 miles). We are only a week in and I am excited to report I am done with the running part and only have a mile left to row before I am finished with that part (I can swim...but I'm not big on lap I decided to row instead)! I need to get more biking in but that'll happen as I teach my spin classes for the month. They count as 12 miles each. :) It's really motivating and fun to do! It's fun to challenge yourself! I always workout every day....but to try and meet certain requirements makes it fun to do! Seriously, exercising becomes addicting! :)

Do you have an Instant Pot? Chris's parents got us one for Christmas and I love it. I use it to hard boil eggs weekly. We also use it for other recipes! I like making homemade chicken noodle soup in it and many other things! If you have one, I would love to know any of your family favorite recipes you use!

I have a busy week ahead...helping friends by babysitting, personal training a lady at the Y, homeschooling, exercising, normal housework, cooking and chores around the home, and it's our week to clean our church! So I best wrap up this post and get busy doing some more around here! One more thing I wanted to share (so sorry for the blurry pictures! I used my phone to take them rather than my camera...and they just didn't turn out that great)...

I've been reading lots of books when time allows (along with my Bible reading) and this one is the one I am reading right now...Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi...(I linked to it on amazon...but if you are interested in buying it, you may find it cheaper on ebay! Always check there too!)

“I could not put the Bible down. I literally could not. It felt as if my heart would stop beating, perhaps implode, if I put it down.” 

~Nabeel Qureshi

It is a great read so far! Nabeel has actually passed away a terribly young age...from stomach cancer ~ but oh, he is with his Creator now! He is with Jesus! His conversion from being a Muslim to a Christian is amazing! It is absolutely beautiful to read how the Lord worked in his life!

“While I was wallowing in self-pity, focused on myself, there was a whole world with literally billions of people who had no idea who God is, how amazing He is, and the wonders He has done for us. They are the ones who are really suffering. They don’t know His hope, His peace, and His love that transcends all understanding. They don’t know the message of the gospel. After loving us with the most humble life and the most horrific death, Jesus told us, “As I have loved you, go and love one another.” How could I consider myself a follower of Jesus if I was not willing to live as He lived? To die as He died? To love the unloved and give hope to the hopeless?” 

~Nabeel Qureshi

Although he has passed away from this earth...Nabeel was able to participate in the making of The American Gospel. It's a movie about how the prosperity message has distorted the true gospel. My family watched can see the trailer to it linked above. If you can watch it, I highly recommend it. If you scroll down from the trailer, there is a place where you can watch an hour of the movie for free. I think it's a 3 hour movie total. It's worth watching the whole thing at some point. Share it with loved ones too...especially those who have bought into this Word of Faith movement that is heretical and wrong.

Well, friends....thanks so much for dropping by here! I gotta get moving and shaking...I hope your week is full of God-glorifying moments and over-flowing joy as you walk through them...despite suffering and trials. Let the tears fall if you are hurting...but let the joy of the Lord take its place in you...for it *is* your strength!


Sunday, March 31, 2019

It's Been a While! A Look at 2019 So Far...

 Life has been busy here in Western PA for the past few months. Homeschooling, homemaking, church, co-op stuff (I'm in charge of graduation this well as a few other important things!), teaching classes and doing some personal training at the Y (as well as exercising on my own)...among other things have kept me on my toes! I'm doing an indoor triathlon in the month of April....and preparing to kayak in an *Adventure Race* with a friend in June! I still have my etsy shop too! I fill orders as soon as I get them, if possible, so I can ship them quickly!

Chris has been working as usual, taking care of our family and providing for us. As weather allows when he is home, he has worked on things around the house. He works at auctions with our brother in law a couple times a month and has been leading men's bible study at our church a couple times a month. He is also a deacon at our church and is responsible for things there! He turned 40 in March. (I'm still trying to process how we have aged so quickly! I feel like high school was just a short while ago! Although I'm *still* in my 30' I haven't quite hit that "middle age" milestone yet!) He's still a wonderful husband and father. He is truly my other half...and I praise God for him daily! I love when he can make it into the gym with me and we workout together! We still flirt with each other...I love that! Almost 19 years of marriage and we still flirt! In September....I will have been married just as long as I was single!

Madelyn has been working a lot...she helps at my dad's garage (doing paperwork stuff) and cleans there too, works at a local pharmacy/gift shoppe, babysitting, and helps for a couple hours of child care at the Y (as well as fills in to help with swimming lessons for little ones). She also works daily to get her school done, attempts to do her chores....and practices playing the piano (as she plays at church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings).

We went dress shopping for our homeschool co-op's formal that is coming up later this month. Madelyn put on a hat and glasses and she looked so cute I *had* to snap a picture! She saw it and thinks she looks awful...but I think she looks beautiful and adorable! My pretty baby girl is all grown up!

A few pictures of silliness after church one day (Madelyn drives separately because she has to go to church early to get ready to play the piano for worship...she and another girl play). Although you can't see it, I do wear a head covering for church (1 Corinthians 11)...

 My boys are doing well. They are growing much too quickly for my liking! X is taller than both Chris and me! I can hardly fathom how he will be 16 this summer (and Madelyn will be turning 18!!). Xavier has been working 3 afternoons a week at my dad's garage still. He learns a lot and gets a lot of experience. It's good for him and really helps my dad! He still practices his banjo and enjoys playing.

I love this picture of Madelyn and X at my dad's garage! They are both mid-laughter and it makes my heart smile big...

Jaxson has been drawing a lot in his free time. He is still our artistic one! He loves to draw and sketch! He put a piece of artwork in our homeschool co-op's academic fair this past weekend and won 3rd place over all the high school entries! So fun! He also enjoys making videos to put on youtube. He still takes guitar lessons and enjoys playing as well!

Here is Jax with his award at the academic fair:

I've been trying new recipes when I can. I received an instant pot for Christmas from Chris's parents and it is *awesome*! A friend let us borrow her air fryer to try too....and we've been having fun with it as well! :)

Here are some mini meatloaves I made...but I used a different recipe than my normal one:

And a new cheeseburger soup recipe I tried:

Our cats and dogs are doing well. As soon as my head hits the pillow, I have cats all over me (see below)....Ok, I'm being a bit dramatic as we only have TWO cats...but those two always have to be laying *on* me. It drives me bonkers...but I kind of love it too...

Cash and Mickey (below) enjoying their bones and basking in the sunshine. Spring is coming here...soon...I'm sure of it. We've had a few spring-like days...but right now we have a small layer of the white stuff. I'm looking forward to nicer weather when we can be outside enjoying God's creation!

Last...but definitely *NOT* sister's come to town some and I snapped some pictures of my nieces and nephew...unfortunately...I didn't take ONE picture of Eloise! Bummer! She was always off playing Legos or at an appointment while I watched the younger ones!


Dusten (with my aunt's dog who I was dogsitting for that day. She was away and her little Spencer gets terrible anxiety when he is alone)...


And I *love* this picture! Dusten and Audra...

So there is the last few months in a nutshell. hasn't been all butterflies and rainbows 'round these parts. I've had muscle injuries and pain. We've been dealing with some extended family troubles and sadness, as well as trying to be burden-bearers for dear friends who have been going through some terrible trials lately. We've had head colds and coughs....and just the normal ups and downs of this thing called life. God has been gracious to us through it all though. We keep our prayers to Him and constantly remind ourselves that He is our constant source of joy and contentment. Busy schedules (and we don't even have our children in activities like many families do nowadays...I can't imagine the running that would entail!) can cause stress...but we take one thing at a time.

My lack of posting is because of life...and because my children, although still beautiful to me, aren't wee little ones anymore. Life seems to keep going quicker and quicker. I miss it being slower when they were little....when everyone didn't have jobs to run to and responsibilities to fulfill. Well, Chris and I did...but my children were just that....children. They played and enjoyed their lives. Sure, they helped with chores and such...but it was all just *slower*. Now there is schooling, working, chores...and fun activities when they can get fit in! Oh my! Don't get me wrong...I am thankful for this season of life. I just miss that one too! ;)

I've also seen the Lord work in me as I have gotten older (and hopefully wiser). I've also seen Him work in Chris which is a beautiful thing. Chris has become a good leader of our home...and I trust that he makes good decisions for us. We're both still being in progress...but there is beauty in the growing.

Before I go....I wanted to share some things I listen to while I'm doing cardio on the elliptical. It can tend to be I enjoy listening to podcasts from Apologia Studios (the link is to their youtube channel but you can look up their podcasts on itunes if you want). You can also find Desiring God's podcasts on there too! On can watch some videos from the Headcovering Movement if you are interested in why I cover in public worship. And videos from Living Waters (Ray Comfort) are always encouraging and good too!

OK...this post is incredibly long...and I know I rambled. Please forgive that...I wish I would have sat down earlier to put more thought into it all....but here it is...after 10PM and I am exhausted with a busy day and week ahead of me. I'm still a homemaker/housewife and homeschooling mama....and as mundane as that may truly isn't. I seek to honor the Lord by serving others....and to do that, I keep busy! :) I want to head to bed and spend some time in prayer before nodding off to sleep!

Thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to hear how you are doing!