Thursday, March 29, 2018

Celebrating 20

My sweet girl was about to turn 20.  Patrick and I knew we wanted to treat her extra special for the blessing she is to us.  We decided to take her away for a couple of days and spoil her rotten...if that's possible for my Beth!

We decided to head a couple of hours away to St. Augustine.  On the way I had a scavenger hunt for her.  When she completed the hunt, she could open the bag.  Inside the bags were chocolate, notes and spending money for our trip.

Or course, we had to stop for some donuts on our way out of town!

What fun we had browsing in and out of shops.  St. Augustine is such a fun city!

We explored and ate.  And found as many used bookstores in 50 miles.  She loved it!

She bought a ton of books and few treasures for her hope chest.  She's filled up her hope chest pretty well that she said she would get a second one, but she might end up looking too hopeful. Ha ha! :o)  That girl of mine makes me smile!

So thankful for the time we had together, just us 3. 20 years went by so fast.  She's grown in to a fine adult lady that we are so proud of.  And very blessed.  We love you Elisabeth!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Ponder ~ Whatsoever things are True

My first time leaving the mission field for sickness brought about a lot of questions. What if the doctors find out what is wrong?  What if they don't?  What if it's life theatening? What if I can't come back soon?    What if we can't stay on the mission field because of my health?

So many "What If?" thoughts floated around in my brain.

Like every other trying-to-live-for-Jesus Momma and wife out there,  that is not the only time I have been bombarded with "What If?"  When I was pregnant with each of my children I asked "What if my babies don't make it?  Or have a sickness and they suffer?"  On deputation I asked, "What if we never raise our support?"  On the mission field I asked, "What if I never learn french?"  As a homeschooling Momma it's sometimes, "What if these kiddos never learn and graduate??"

What if?  Sometimes it's a serious "What if?"  Sometimes it's more of a daily silly "What if?"  But, nonetheless, "What If?"  is just a guess at my future.  My future is in God's capable hands.  He can handle my "What Ifs?"

In my "Ponder" study last year, I studied out Philippians 4:8.  God tells us exactly what we should be thinking about.  He doesn't suggest or encourage us to think a certain way, He commands us how to think.  He starts out the verse with "Whatsover things are true..think on these things."  As I studied this out and read books on this subject, the Lord helped me with my thinking.  And with my "What If?" thoughts.  You see, if I'm thinking on what is true, or real in my life, I'm thinking on what is going on right now in the minutes God has me in right now.  Often, our mind wants to worry and fret on what may never  happen.  We often think in worse case scenarios, don't we?  Then, we end up having fearful anxious thoughts on a situation that isn't based in reality.

God gives us promises for our future that we can rest in, and that will help us keep our thoughts under control

1. Nothing will ever happen to me that God cannot handle by His Power.  We have an all powerful God.  When we feel like we are too weak we need to take comfort in the fact that, His grace is sufficient for us and that His strength is made perfect through our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10)

2. Nothing will ever happen to me that will not eventually be used by God for some good purpose in my life.  My life is a big puzzle.  Some days I see the not so pretty, pointy, difficult pieces.  Other days it's the flowery, colorful pieces.  But, God wants to put each piece in its proper place and make my life beautiful.  If I will let him. (Romans 8:28)

3.  Nothing will ever happen to me apart from God's presence.  I've often heard it said, "How do people make it through without the Lord?"  His presence is what helps us get through the storms in our life.  He has promised us that He will never leave us.  He truly is our friend, and for that I am so thankful!

Now, of course, planning for our future is very wise, and there are many places in scripture that reference being prepared and organized for the days ahead. I like my lists!! :o)  But, once we do that, it's time to leave our future in the Lord's hands.  He can handle it so much better than we can!

"What If?"  have you asked yourself that lately?  Give it to the Lord and think on what is true.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Estero Bay Preserve State Park

While in Fort Myers we had a great time visiting a new-to-us State Park!  Another one crossed off our list!

  This park was very different from the other ones we've visited.  We had to park on the side of the road and then enter through a fence to get to the park.  There was a handwritten map on the bulletin board of the different trails.  We tried to memorize the one we wanted to do and headed off in what we thought might be the right direction.  What an adventure!

The bulletin board also said to watch for the wild hogs.  Oh dear.  That scared me a bit.  Especially when we saw some areas that looked like they had been rooting around for food.

We were glad to take Grammy on our adventure!

It wasn't steamy hot like it normally is in SW Florida.  But, it was warm with a very nice wind.

Then, it started to look quite dead!

After a while the trail opened up to a large prairie looking area.

We started to see places where small crabs had made their homes.

And even saw a crab!

Then, we saw lots of mangroves and mangrove seedlings.  The kids loved how it sounded as they walked through the mangrove "forest."

Then, we entered a large sandy area.   The wind was so loud and strong that we had a hard time hearing each other.  It was very interesting.

Then, it was time to hike back.  I told the kids to look tired.  They did a pretty good job!

This was a really neat park!  So diverse with lots of great things to talk to the kids about.  What a wonderful world that God made for us to live in!!

Monday, March 19, 2018

3 Years!

This past Sunday we celebrated our 3 year anniversary for VSIBC!  What an exciting 3 years it has been!  I remember the nervous feeling on opening day.  We had family come to support us and 2 men from Macedonia World Baptist Missions come as well. But as far as people from the community...we had no idea who would come!
It was exciting to see people pull in the parking lot to come for church.  4 of those are still with us today! 
 3 years later our attendance has increased a good bit (we need a bigger building!), we are all growing spiritually, and we have become a family.  I love my church family!

I am so thankful that God sent us to North Central Florida.  The people He has called us to are so precious.  It's a joy to serve Jesus!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Trip to Fort Myers

Since my Aunt Robin and Mam-maw were in Fort Myers for a bit of warmer weather, I knew we needed to take a quick trip down to Fort Myers to see them.  A week before we went, Tabitha said she wanted to surprise my family and go down with us.  It was time for Liberty to go to Grandma's, Grandpa's and Grammy's house!

 It was a busy couple of days trying to see as many people and sights as possible.  It was so fun!

We went to the beach, the park, a few restaurants, a soccer game.
We laughed and talked and reminisced.

Cousin Time.
Aunt Time
Grandparent Time.
It was a full trip.  And so blesseed!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Happy 20th Birthday to my Elisabeth!

Happy Birthday to my sweet Elisabeth.  What an amazing daughter that God has blessed me with.  She is so caring and loving towards me as her mother.  We love to spend time together and I cherish these moments!  It's amazing how relationships gradually change.  I am still the Momma, and always will be, but a sweet friendship has developed and I'm so thankful.  We seek each other's council and input.  And what a joy she is to me!

Beth is so diligent in her studies at Virginia Baptist College.  Taking online courses can be difficult.  There are still so many other responsibilities calling her name!  But, she has been diligent in her work and often burns the midnight oil (literally) 

She also does an amazing job being our church's secretary.  She has learned so much this pass year about balancing checkbooks and entering in all the different offerings into different accounts and subaccounts.  She pays all the church's bills and makes sure the missioanaries we support receive their monthly money.  Many responsibilities, but so diligent!

As usual, Beth is also an amazing help to me.  She helps at a moment's notice with cleaning, meals or schooling our little ones....I truly am so thankful for this girl.  Or should I say lady.  How can my baby be 20??

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Family Time!

We were so thankful that family could come for Liberty's dedication.  I wish I had taken more photos of all the fun and memories we made.  It was great.
Here is Liberty with her Great Great Grandmother ~ Mam-maw.  How precious!

My Mom's brother, Ron and my cousin Natasha came as well.  I know they like the outdoors (just like me) so I thought it was perfect to take them to Blue Springs State Park for a hike!

We loaded up in the church bus so we could all ride together.

My Mam-maw, my Mother, and my Uncle.  3 wonderful people that I love to be with!

The park was beautiful and we enjoyed our hike outdoors. Beth and Brenna enjoyed getting to know Natasha better.  She's a sweetheart!

I just love my love.

We saw tons of tiny frogs along the way.

I'm not a big fan of frogs.  But, two of my girls are!

5 generations.  It seems like it wasn't that long ago that I was the Momma of a baby taking a 5 generation photo.  Time is swift and goes by too quickly.

Liberty with her Grandma

Time with family is always so special.  Cherish each moment.