Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Birthday

I turned 37 this last week.
I'm not a big party person or one to ask for expensive gifts or trips, well OK I lied, I'd ask for an expensive trip.

Steve and I had plans to go to Busch Gardens for my special day, but since a storm was suppose to head that way we decided to stay home. Of course Florida weather men have been known to steer us wrong and the storm stayed south of us, and Tampa, and no rain fell.

Instead Steve and I decided to visit my favorite local botanical gardens and then we just drove around. 

I love to drive.

We rolled the windows down, put some music on and just let the open road lead the way. 
We ran across and old Florida boarding house on the river that is up for auction and had a blast exploring the grounds.
It was such a beautiful day and I am so blessed to have a wonderful man to share days like that with.

Now if only every day could be like that, wind in my hair not a care in the world- but something tells me day after day of that would not be as fun and special as it was on my 37th birthday! 

If you get the opportunity I suggest you do the same: grab the one you love, roll down the windows and just drive!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


So a few weeks back my friend Amanda texted to say she wanted to make a Christmas present for a family member and she thought she needed my help. What thet really means is "I need a place to drag my sewing machine to make me sew".

My brain went into overtime and next thing you know I had texted the girls from last year, you may remember the ones who I cooked with each week?

Anyway today was our first day of meeting, we decided to craft together.

hot glue,
whatever we wanted.

I made a cute little felty Christmas tree to hang on the tree this year.

Not everyone crafted, Gabrielle and Sarah sat with the babies, but hopefully will craft next time ;)

Aleatha worked on her son's Halloween costume while Amanda double dutied as sewer and mommy to a 1-year-old.
Baby Luc is so precious, can't believe we've been hanging with him and his momma for almost a year now!

Faith looking thrilled to be here, or at least thrilled that I am taking her picture.

When home schoolers are involved there has got to be something for the little ones--- Wii!!

Lastly I made these:

So stinkin' yummy. I got the idea from Pinterest and here is the link. I did not make her sugar cookies but instead made my own go-to sugar cookie recipe.

If you want to see what we made, you'll have to click over to the Vintage Sheet site for that one.
Happy day to you all!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Matthew 22:39 "And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself." 

These words are all over the Word of God.

Last Friday my small group of 9th grade girls came over to walk this faith thing out.

They brought the ingredients,
the recipes,
they took time on their day off from school, 
to cook,
to bake;
to deliver meals to a teacher they all love.
A teacher who puts 110% into their classwork
and even more into the students that come that teacher's way.

The cut raw chicken and almost puked,
they did dishes,
one even learned that it takes a lot of sugar to make a good cookie.

These girls MOVEd.
Thanks for the challenge Edgewater Alliance Student Ministries.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Angeles National Forest

Because if I don't write about it the trip will be years behind me and I'll do my best to recall it.
After getting Dani somewhat settled in to college we decided to explore the mountains behind her new home.
The tall palm trees were grand for palm trees and led the way to the entrance of the Angeles National Forest.

When you live in Florida, or any other flat state, for any amount of time mountains of any size are beautiful. I really don't have much to say about the drive through the mountains besides it was really pretty. On the way "in" we drove at the base of the mountains in the canyon, past damns and reservoirs; then on the way"out" we rode high on the mountains sides, climbing until we reached the ridge road.

The winding road in the canyon is the road we took "in" with the reservoirs on either side of the picture.

Here was our ride for the trip- a Dodge Charger- we LOVED it!!!

So that is the first taste of the outdoors we got in Southern California.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Cents Behind Our Summer Vacations

When you travel as much as we I did over this last summer your friends start looking at you as if you've won some lottery,or they stop following you on Facebook cause they're disgusted with all your adventures.

Honestly, as I sit her today broke as a joke trusting God will provide our mortgage money by Thursday and I too feel like I was lavished by the summer of 2011 and it's travels.

I'm certainly no Dave Ramsey but there are a few tips I have for people who want to take some sort of vacation.

So here are my tips:
Pay cash! Take the money you save on these items and put it aside for your vacation fund- in an account or better yet at a friends house where you can't touch it! It had been 5 years since we'd been on a family vacation.

1. start making your coffee at home- then take the money you would have spent and save it- $5 a week adds up
2. stop eating out, this was the hardest for me, but $10+ a week adds up
3. set in your mind to not purchase anything new for your home or your body, I haven't bought new clothes in years, we even use hand me down towels and finally got a new microwave after 18 years
4. go on free date nights, then put aside the $20 you would have spent, we read a lot in the bookstore and we walk, walk, walk for dates- also geocaching and disc golf are free after a small initial investment
5. rent movies from library, or even redbox for $1
6. do any work that comes your way, clean a house, mow a lawn, pet sit... this will add up the most, work for your extra money the reward tied to this is amazing!
7. sell stuff you own, blankets, rarely used appliances, furniture you can do without. I am a big craigslist fan! I also take anything free being given out and sell it on craigslist, well sometimes it sits around collecting dust  :/
8. having a family member buy you a plane ticket fro Christmas helps too!

and when it comes to actual trip...

8. stay with friends and family
9. research, research, research (we stay in inexpensive, clean places- I love for this)
10. plan and pay for you trip in sections
      - set your dates 6 months to a year ahead
      - pay for and book your plane tickets first
      - then and it may be a few months later, book your hotel or campsite (and yes we pack sleeping bags)
      - next pay for any rental car or extra activity, for example buy theme park tickets one ticket at a time
11. make your own food, we travel with a cooler, and yes you can check a cooler on an airplane, use your normal  grocery budget money and eat healthier too!

So that's a large part of how we managed to send me to Alaska and Detroit, take the family to Bush Gardens and for Steve and I to spend a week in California. Hard work, sacrifice and a God who allowed it all to take place.

I also love, love, love to plan vacations on the cheap so feel free to contact me if you want help- the time away on a vacation can be healing for the soul!

Where would your dream vacation be to?

Sunday, October 09, 2011

My Living Room

One day I will get my living room back.
Whatever that may mean.
We don't have a family room like I always wished for.

Instead we have a living room allowing all the noise in it to be heard throughout the whole house.

We have a living room with tons of throw pillows that never seem to stay on the sofas.

A living room full of laughter and jokes, conversation overheard and first words.

I have tried for several years now to record in my thankful journal all the things I am thankful for. The book A Thousand Gifts is a good read about the art and perspective of giving thanks.

I've never really typed that list here, parts of the list sit on papers crammed in a notebook and still a part is engraved in my phones "notebook".

Perhaps, if time and my brain allows, I will record more on this small space I occupy on the web.

Today I am thankful for...
1. A living room filled with boys playing video games
2. and little girl toys
3. a full recycling container 
4. wind in the trees reminding me of unseen mystery
5. a heart missing family because my heart has family to miss
6. the smell of fall and maple butter candles

So what are you thankful for and what characteristics does your living room have?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


Another year of youth group has started and another year of fresh faces greet me as we meet for small group each week. This year our theme is MOVE- we really want to challenge and push our students to MOVE in their faith, to not only know the teachings of Christ but to live them, 
walk them,
MOVE them out in their lives.

This encompasses the day to day seeing and doing the work of Christ as they simply go about their lives as well as bigger things that take time and planning.

It's been noticing and approaching the kid who sits by himself during lunch,
it's been looking though a Samartian's Purse catalog and deciding to raise money with the whole youth group to buy a well in Bolivia
and also deciding to each bring $1 a week to purchase clothing, food, school supplies and more.

We have some local, close to home ideas as well--
I am excited to see what this year has to offer, 

or better yet 

what this group of girls has to offer this year.

Keep an eye out if you live local, you may see some students MOVEing about in your neck of the woods, and yes I know I spelled that word wrong ;)

-Trying to walk this thing out,

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The "Why" Behind Our California Adventure

The call came toward the beginning of July.
Dani, one of the girls I've known through youth group called to say she had no one to take her to college in Southern California. I had told her months before to let me know if she found herself headed out there alone and I'd see what I could do to make sure she didn't move across the country by herself.

I asked Steve what he thought and he gave the OK.
Within 2 weeks I had booked our flights.
Shortly after that our hotel room, rental car and of course contacted our local SoCal friends.

September 1st was our departure date and before I knew it Steve and I headed out to the west coast just a few hours before Dani.

As part of her graduation gift I told her we'd check some bags for her. Here is Steve with our portion of moving our "niece" to college, mind you she arrived with just about as much stuff.
After getting the rental car we checked into our hotel, unloaded our belongings and made the trek back to the airport to pick her up.

Somehow we managed to load up all her bags as well as bags from trip #1 to Wal-mart.
Then came Target. The coolest Target I've ever seen!!
The store was actually on the second story with a parking garage underneath it. As you went down in your escalator your cart went down in it's own escalator.

We then made our way to the campus and set out to find her dorm room!

It was fun to watch her walk and look for her room number...
Signs lined the halls welcoming the new students...

and then we found it!!
After dumping the first load, meeting her roommate and her parents, we headed back out for dinner and another Wal-mart stop. Taking a child to college is expensive, well at least for the parents and students- not so much for the Aunt and Uncle :)

 Somewhere along the line we made it to Target again :)
After unloading and folding and hanging clothes we managed to take a group photo.
Here is a tour of the Azusa Pacific University campus.
The baptism pool, rumor has it kids climb the trees to catch a peak.

Riding to the west side of the campus on the trolley system

Outside of the library with the San Angeles National Forest in the background.

The wailing wall.

Prayer chapel

There was a really neat hallway/exhibit area with really thought provoking and creative pieces of art; this one was perhaps my favorite. While beautiful is circled many other lies we tend to believe about ourselves are all over this crossword-- can you fin them? and if you believe any of them be reminded that you are beautiful.

So there it is the reason we made the trip to the west coast.
More to come, after all we travelled into the mountains behind Azusa, visited the Pacific Ocean, the high desert and of course Yosemite!!

More to come--


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