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 first...so 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 before...so 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 swim...you 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 swimming...so 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 now...at 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 it...you 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 year....as 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's....so 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* least...my 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. Honestly....it 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 sanctified....works 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 boring...so 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 youtube...you 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 seem....it 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!


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas Memories 2018

Although I am not a huge fan of "Christmas" because of the pagan background etc etc (I won't get into it) I am not a *total* scrooge. We still do gifts...even if we don't have a tree. We still get together with family as well. These pics aren't really in order...but that's ok. Above is from Christmas morning...the kids all hopped on their dad to kiss him and I had to get a pic! :) 

Below is one of the gifts I received....a beautiful hand-carved spoon that Chris made for me!! The pictures don't do it justice! It is so pretty in person! It feels just lovely too!!

We spent a few hours on Christmas Eve at my sister and her husband's house. We had a delicious meal (made by Cory...it was seriously so good!) and then exchanged gifts. The first pic is kinda blurry but Dusten loved his new trike!

My sister had this awesome shirt made for me! I love it!! It's some of my favorite theologians!

Me and Madelyn...

Dinah saw me taking a picture and I love how she stood up and smiled like this...

Jaxson got these fun light-up glasses!! He wore them most of the night!

Xavier and his funny duck face (being a goof) and my sweet hubby...

Dinah and Chris watching X open a gift...

Me and Jaxson...

Christmas morning...we had brunch at my parents' house and opened some gifts from them. 

Me and my honey...

My three *teen*agers! Yes...they are all teens now and I'm not sure when they all got so big and tall...but wow ~ they are such blessings to me! They are treasures and I am so thankful to be their mama!

The month has been super busy with deer processing at the meat market, me taking (and teaching) classes at the Y, housework, schooling, gift buying and wrapping, music lessons, and the normal grocery shopping/meal making etc.

My parents got us a dehydrator for Christmas! And Chris's parents got us an InstaPot! I can't wait to give them both a try!! Do you have one or both of these? If so, I would love to hear how you use them or some of your favorite things to make with them!?

Thanks so much for visiting me here! I know I don't post like I used to. This season of life is just different than previous years. I hope you each are doing well! I wish you a very blessed upcoming new year!


Saturday, December 1, 2018

"I heard a bird sing in the dark of December...

...A magical thing 
And sweet to remember:
'We are nearer to spring 
Than we were in September.'"

~Oliver Herford

That quote pretty much sums up my feelings of winter! I try to remember that, Lord willing, spring is not too far off! Don't get me wrong, I love a beautiful snow fall...cozy warmth in my home, candles lit and even the longer nights aren't too bad for a little while. It's when the snow and cold (and mud and muck) linger for months on end...and the shorter days make me lack the sunlight I desperately want (and need!) ~ (Thank goodness for the gym though! Truly, exercise helps the winter blues *so* much!).

If you have visited me here for a while you will know we don't really *do* Christmas anymore. I follow Christ and praise Him for coming to the earth to save us, redeem us and love us. I don't do a ton of decorating though...and we don't really do a tree inside. (We still purchase or make gifts to give though....I do try to have a generous spirit). I did put our little tree out on the porch though...and it looks cute. I also made that wreath on our door...but I'll explain more on that in a bit!

First...after a food-filled, joyful Thanksgiving with friends and family...we (as goes our annual tradition) decorated one of my dad's trucks (he owns a garage with wreckers and flatbeds etc) to go through our local light-up-night parade! My grandpa was not doing well (my dad's dad) so Chris drove the truck through and two of my cousins rode with him while my children walked alongside and threw candy!

Although dark...here's a pic of my three treasures...Madelyn, Xavier and Jaxson (all three almost teens...as Jaxson turns 13 in just a couple days!)...

Some of the pics are dark because I wanted to be able to see the lights on the truck. They can be kind of blurry as well because sometimes the truck was moving...

We made the back look like a pretty tree using strands of garland, a star on top and lights...

Going through town on that cold, cold night!

Afterwards, some of my cousins and we got together for supper at a local pizza place and warmed up. After that my family took the truck back to my dad's garage and had to take all the decorations off (although it doesn't take long, that's the not-so-fun part)!

 I have been busy since mid-November. A friend of mine has been making wreaths for the American Cancer Society for 30 years (and she also makes some to sell at a craft show...which we were at all day today...and as gifts) and she wants me to take over doing it for next year!! She trained me on how to make fresh wreaths (and how to decorate them), handmade bows...and how to make sprays and grave blankets too. She gave me some of her leftover stuff to make them (and practice). I have made some and given them as gifts to some different friends and family! Here are a few I have made...

On the left is a centerpiece I made and a wreath on the right...

The centerpiece on my island (kinda dark I know)....

And another wreath I made (I'm still practicing my bow-making skills)...

I really enjoy doing it and hope I can do a great job and keep up with the orders/demand next year!! I am not a nail-biter...but if I was...I wouldn't have fingernails left because of my nervousness about it! haha!

Homeschooling, Working out/teaching fitness classes at the Y, making wreaths, housework, meals, shopping for gifts (which I do mostly online!), and our homeschool co-op have kept us super busy lately! Plus, it is deer season...and my Father in Love owns a meat market....so they have been busy too! I am excited to report that Xavier got his first deer last weekend and Madelyn got her first this weekend! I'm so proud of them! We will have lots of venison to eat (and gift to friends who don't hunt)!

I know my posts are so few and far between. I don't mean for that to happen...it's just that life keeps going by and before I realize it...a month has passed! I always intend to do better..then I look at the date of my last post, hang my head, and realize I am still falling short! :) I hope you are well and that your Thanksgiving was filled with love and joy (and a lot of giving-thanks to the One all praise is due!). Thanks so much for coming by! I hope to update again sooner rather than later!

Grace and Peace to each of you!