Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Summer recap: Family fun times

Why does summer always seem to be gone in a flash?
We savored every minute with a lovely balance of
fun activity and leisurely days.
There were days of swimming, ice cream, getting to know new friends,
and trying out new experiences.
Take a peek at our memories......

Indian Pow-Wow

Birthday Party #1

Arlington Skatium
Birthday Party #2

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Summer Recap: Tending my garden

I made a new friend in June on our mission trip to New York City.
She often refers to her friends as blooms in  her "friendship garden."
She recently put it this way:

"How beauty-full is the fragrance of the bouquet of friendship 
the Lord has given to us through the years! "

The Lord has just enriched my life as well with precious friends.
Like the lush variety of beautiful flowers found in a well designed
bouquet gathered from our garden of friendships.
Some wither and choke and we lose that friendship
because of the weeds, the cares of this world, that distract
us and cause us to not tend to that flower.
Others just keep coming back over and over
and delight us and brighten up our day whenever they blossom again!!
Some of the blooms the Lord surprised me with this summer:

 I didn't get to make as many trips away from home as 
I usually do during the summer months to visit my friends and family.
I did not get to make a trip home to Ohio, nor did I get the chance
to attend summer camp as a sponsor for my children either.
But as I looked back on that interesting turn of events,
I was reminded that this year, so many of my dear friends,
who live thousands of miles away,
came my way and made time in their travels to visit me!
God is always good and bountifully deals with us!!
My Mom (as pictured above) came to us this May for our first homeschool graduation!!

My dear missionary friend and her daughter traveled all the way from Thailand
and they stopped in for dinner with us and shared lovely treats
from that country!
What an absolute joy to get to share their victories and sorrows
from the last several years of their work on a very difficult mission field.

This friend from high school who recently moved home to Ohio from Alaska
was traveling through Texas to see her son!
We so enjoyed a girls night together swimming and roasting marshmallows
with our kids!!

In July, this sweet couple traveled from Michigan to spend a long weekend
with our family.  We have known them since
she was a teenager in our first youth group
in Michigan way back when we were first married.
So much fun taking them out for dinner on their wedding anniversary!!!

Finally, my very dear friend from South Carolina was
flying through Dallas on her way home from speaking at a conference
in California.  We've been friends for over 20 years and the Lord has
used her to richly bless my life through her amazing gift of encouragement!
We were able to sit for about an hour between her flights
to visit, and share, and pray together before she flew home.

What a gift to get to carve out time
 to tend my garden of friendships this summer.
Their sweet fragrance uplifts my spirits and encourages my heart!
They are all beautiful in the way that God has crafted their life stories,
and I'm blessed and enriched every day with how they embellish my life with their
beautiful blooms!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

First Day of School 2016

This week we experienced the culmination of several weeks worth
of curriculum purchasing, 
school supply shopping,
trying on of clothes,
meal and snack planning,
parent orientation meetings,
calendar planning,
lesson planning,
and prayer!!!

We are all excited about beginning our 3rd year at a local
"Homeschool Assistance Program."
It has been such a blessing to our family and we look forward
to what God has in store for us this upcoming school year!
To read more about our family decision to add this to our homeschooling,
click here.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Vacation Bible School 2016

Several weeks ago, our family was privileged once again
 to participate in our church's 
Vacation Bible School!
What an awesome outreach ministry to those in our community!
We saw over 200 workers and children attend throughout the week
with 19 children making the decision to trust
Jesus Christ as their Savior!!

All 6 of our children love to participate, and this year
was no exception.

Our three teenagers found a leadership position to plug into:
Lexi ~ leader for the 4 year old group
Grant ~ game time assistant
Ashlyn ~ kitchen/snack time assistant

Our three elementary age kids were in their own class as students,
and Abby and Garrett helped with the puppets during opening and closing
assembly time.

 It is always a wonderful week filled with friends and fun,
and this year I was the leader of the 7-year olds.
 I had two assistants that made
this week such a breeze!!

~With my two Jackie's!!!

The little boy on the right lives in an apartment complex not far from our church
that houses refugees from all over the world.
He and his family are from the Congo and they only speak Swahili.
What a challenge and joy it was to learn how to communicate with him,
and to gain his trust.  My heart was burdened for his family
that live in near poverty with such a huge language barrier.
We found his sister in an older class and she was able to 
translate for me and help me share the Gospel of Jesus with
him and his friend in the middle of the week.

There truly is JOY! in serving Jesus!!