3 Things + A Bonus!

Here are three things that have brought me joy and made me smile this week! (Plus a bonus! 🙂 )

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This sweet boy spent the day with us last Saturday! My great-nephew, Zachary, is 16 months old and so much fun to be around. He loves to read and he loves trucks!! He will be staying with us for several days this summer and we can’t wait!

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I made a Coca-cola cake for Easter! My grandmother use to make these all the time and they were always so delicious. I use her recipe and it always brings back sweet memories of times spent with her when I make one.

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The last Easter before Greg passed away he, Emilie and I were in the store. Emilie was asking us to buy her a bag of Starburst jelly beans, but we told her no…she already had enough junk. (Typical parent response. 🙂 ) The very next day Greg came home with…you guessed it…a bag of Starburst jelly beans for Emilie! I teased him about being such a softie. So every Easter since, I have gotten Emilie a bag of Starburst jelly beans and I tell her it’s her “traditional Dad gift.” Of course, I tell her she has to share with the rest of us!

And here’s the bonus for this week. I came across this picture tonight. Precious memories of a sweet Easter Sunday sixteen years ago.

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Easter 2000

Praying that each of you have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

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Three Things That Are Bringing Me Joy This Week

Continuing to focus on the things in life that make me smile. 🙂 Here are three things that are bringing me joy this week!

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I participated in AND completed my first 5K! No, I didn’t run….but it’s a start, right?? It was a fun morning with these sweet friends. It’s such a blessing to have friends that walk alongside me and encourage me not just in a 5K, but also in this race called LIFE. It’s so hard sometimes, and I am thankful for the encouragers that the Lord has placed in my life!

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The weather has been so pretty lately! I have been enjoying sitting out on my porch as much as I can…eating luch, reading, doing my Bible study and even napping. 🙂

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I put out my hummingbird feeder this week! This was a gift from a sweet friend. I put it right outside my porch and I can’t wait to see my first hummingbird of the season!!

What are some things that are bringing you joy this week? I’d love for you to share!

Trusting His Plan,

Sandra

Who Says Homeschool’s Not Fun???

***Sorry for the mixed up narration on this post. I worked for WAY too long on it and still couldn’t make it look right. I am just not “techy” at all! 😦

We are a homeschool family and I am completing my 18th year of being a homeschool Mom! We began this adventure when Katie was in Kindergarten and will complete the journey next year when Jake graduates from high school! I can say without hesitation that choosing to homeschool our children is one of the best decisions that Greg and I ever made. Homeschooling has afforded our children some great opportunities. Jake and I took advantage of one such opportunity last month.

Jacob is enrolled in a Marine Biology class through our ocal homeschool group and last month his wonderful teacher arranged for the kids to go on an extended field trip to Saint George Island in Florida! I was fortunate enough to be able to go along as a chaperone; although the kids were so great, there was little chaperoning needed! There were six students and five adults including the teacher.

We rented a house on the beach and Mrs. Dunklin, the amazing teacher of the class, had planned a week packed full of learning and fun!

Day 1: We arrived at the beach house after dinner and got settled in. Jacob didn’t waste any time in teaching everyone to play Spicy Uno!

Sam is a bit of a blur here. :)

Sam is a bit of a blur here. 🙂

Day 2: We made a visit to the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab in Panacea.

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Later in the afternoon, we headed up to Wakulla Springs State Park. We took a beautiful boat ride and saw lots of interesting critters…birds, gators, manatees, etc.

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We ended the day with a beautiful sunset!

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Day 3: Went to State Park Youth Camp at St. George for a cool lesson and the kids got to dissect oyster clusters and find lots of cool sea critters!

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Then back to the house for lunch and another round of Spicy Uno!

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There were beautiful nature trails at the center.

There were beautiful nature trails at the center.

The kids found a snake eating a frog. (Disgusting, I know!)

The kids found a snake eating a frog. (Disgusting, I know!)

Attended an informative lecture about estuaries.

Attended an informative lecture about estuaries.

 

 

 

 

 

After lunch, we made a trip to the Apalachicola Estuarine Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then it was back to the house for some hot tub time, an evening beach walk and of course…more Spicy Uno!

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Day 4: Labs on the beach, followed by a beach walk.

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The gang!

The gang!

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The house we stayed in.

The house we stayed in.

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Jake found a live starfish!

Jake found a live starfish!

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Day 5: We took a ferry ride to St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge, then stopped in Apalachicola on the way back to the house. We ended the night with a spaghetti dinner, but not any old spaghetti dinner. The kids had to eat with kitchen tools…no regular utensils. Jake got an ice cream scoop. 🙂

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Lunch on the beach!

Lunch on the beach!

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Eating steamed shrimp on the dock.

Eating steamed shrimp on the dock.

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Enjoying a black-bottom coffee from the local coffe shop. Yum!

Enjoying a black-bottom coffee from the local coffe shop. Yum!

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Day 6: I didn’t take many pictures. We did another morning nature walk, then spent the afternoon in Apalachicola. We ate lunch at a local seafood restaraunt, enjoyed the cute book/knitting shop, and made another stop at the coffee shop! That evening the kids watched Finding Nemo to wind down the week.

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I think we wore them out!

I think we wore them out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 7: We packed up and headed home, thankful for the blessing of homeschooling and for the wonderful week of learning, fun and friendship!

Trusting His Plan,

Sandra

 

 

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Three Things That Are Bringing Me Joy This Week

This life is hard. We’ve all got hard things in our lives that we have to deal with. Many times I let the hard things consume me and I pay little attention to the things that make me happy or bring a smile to my face. Recently I’ve decided to start purposefully looking for these sweet things in life. To pay attention and to be grateful. I thought I’d start recording these things on my blog, so that on the hard days I can look back and remember the things that have brought me joy. Sometimes the things are big but many times, I think, it’s the small things that can bring great joy!

These are the things that are bringing me joy this week!

Yellow Bells blooming in my backyard!

Yellow Bells blooming in my backyard!

These Yellow Bells are one of the first things in my yard to bloom each year. I love sitting out on my screen porch and enjoying the beautiful color along with the sweet sounds of nature.

My beautiful saucer magnolia blooming for the first time!

My beautiful saucer magnolia blooming for the first time!

This tree is so special to me! Several months before Greg’s death, one of his good friends from work brought Greg a beautiful saucer magnolia for he and Jake to plant together. Greg had decided on the perfect spot for the tree, but said that he wanted to cut another tree down before he planted the new one. Unfortunately, Greg’s health deteriorated and he and Jake were never able to plant the tree. Some time after Greg’s death, a neighbor helped Jake cut down the old tree and plant the new one where Greg had wanted it. But, we had waited too long to get the tree in the ground, and it did not survive.

Several months ago, I was having some landscaping done and I knew I wanted to have another saucer magnolia planted right where Greg had wanted it. Now the tree is blooming for the first time and it brings me such joy every time I look at it!

A gift from Greg

A gift from Greg

I have always loved Thrift….especially when it’s growing on a hill. Several years after we moved into this house, Greg found some wild-growing Thrift somewhere and dug up some clumps and brought it home for me. He planted it along the hill in our front yard. Every year it seems to spread a little more, and every time I drive past the front of my house, it makes me smile!

So, these are three of the things that are bringing me joy this week! I’d love for you to share some things that are bringing you joy this week!!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

Goal #4 for 2016

Since the beginning of the year, I have been sharing with you some of my goals for 2016. Goal #1 is to read at least 1 book/month. Goal #2 is to take control of my health, and goal #3 is to read through the Bible in one year.

Today, I am sharing goal #4…..to go on a family mission trip. This has been a desire of mine for several years, but until this point it has not worked out for one reason or another. But…2016 is the year that it WILL happen! Next month Emilie, Jacob and I will be going on a short-term mission trip to Haiti. We are going with our church, who is partnering with Operation Mobilization. Unfortunately, Katie won’t be able to join us because of the timing of the trip and the scheduling conflict with her college classes. But, Katie is actually leaving for Europe tomorrow! It’s not a mission trip, but rather a trip for class credit with a group from her school. She will be going to Rome and Greece! Very cool, huh??

As far as our trip to Haiti, we will be working with an orphanage there and sharing the Gospel in word and deed with those that we are blessed to come into contact with. We will also be providing some vacation Bible school type activities with the children. We are so excited and grateful for this opportunity and are really looking forward to what the Lord has in store for us!

We have been busy making pre-trip preparations: getting passports and signatures on needed forms, attending training meetings with our team, raising needed financial and prayer support, and obtaining the needed vaccinations and medications. We would be most grateful if you would be willing to pray with and for us for our upcoming trip. These are our current prayer requests:

1. Health and safety for all team members before and during the trip
2. All financial needs to be met
3. Acquiring the remainder of our needed vaccinations/meds
4. Open hearts and minds for what the Lord has planned for our trip
5. That we would allow the Holy Spirit to be in control of our trip, rather than relying on ourselves
6. Unity and flexibility of the team
7. Transformed hearts and minds for both the Haitian people and ourselves.
8. Lots of sweet memories for my kids and I!

If you would like to see what’s going on during our trip, I plan to publish a blog post each day while we are there. But, I’m not sure what the wi-fi situation will be like, so I can’t make any promises!

A big thank you to all of you that are supporting us financially and through your prayers! We can’t wait to see how God will use us to minister to the Haitian people and how He will use the Haitian people to minister to us!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

What Did You Read In February?

Another month has come and gone. Time to do a check up on my goal to read at least one book/month in 2016. I exceeded my reading goal in January, and read two books. Again this month, I am happy to report that I read two more books!

The first book I read was Through the Eyes of a Lion by Levi Lusko. I first heard about this book awhile back when I was listening to a podcast from Elevation Church and Levi was being interviewed. I knew then that I HAD to read his book. Recently, a friend mentioned that she was reading the book and offered to let me borrow her copy. I read it and was not disappointed.

Here is the book description from Amazon:

What will you do when the unthinkable happens in your life?
Her parents called her Lenya Lion because of her ferocious personality and hair that had been wild and mane-like since birth. But they never expected that, five days before Christmas, their five-year-old daughter would suddenly go to heaven after an asthma attack. How do you walk out of an emergency room without your daughter?

In Through the Eyes of a Lion, Pastor Levi Lusko shares the eye-opening truth of the power of hope in a world that is often filled with pain, suffering, and loss. He says, “This book isn’t a manual for grieving, but a manifesto for high-octane living, and through it I want you to see that God made you for a purpose. There is a wild and wonderful calling on your life, a microphone in your hands. Jesus wants you to look at the adventure of your life through His eyes, the eyes of a Lion.”

Part memoir but all overtly instructive and deeply inspirational, Through the Eyes of a Lion gives readers the tools they need to face their fears and turn their journey into a roar story.
Chapter themes include:
Don’t rely on the naked eye
Run towards the roar
There’s no such thing as a wireless anchor
Let God use your pain
Cue the eagle

What we do in life really does echo in eternity. You are destined for impact, and there’s not a moment to lose!

This was definitely a difficult read considering the subject matter, but it was also very real, very inspirational and very encouraging. I highly recommend this book, especially if you’ve ever experienced a loss in your life.

The second book I read was Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Another great book!! I was two for two this month! I borrowed this book from Overdrive through my local library and read it on my Kindle. Did you know you could do that….borrow Kindle books through your library??? Very cool!

I had seen this book mentioned several times, so when I saw it on Overdrive, I decided to check it out. I’m so glad I did! It is a great book that intertwines the life stories of a teenage girl and an elderly lady who, as a young girl finds herself without parents and is sent across the country on an orphan train to find a new life. The orphan trains are a very sad part of our American history that I knew very little about. Very interesting and engaging read.

Now it’s your turn! What did you read in February??

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

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