(Why I Haven’t Posted)

We’ve had rather a lot going on–these pictures are just a wee bit of what has happened since I last posted. I really will post more about the trip, but until then… here’s a taste of the craziness.

Traditional New Year’s eve party…

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(the fruit pizza is always a big deal)

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Church at HisRanch (like Central America, except in English and the people don’t get into the singing here like they do there.)

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Pastor Mark preaching

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Work… enjoying a gift from Elisa and Rachel.

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Learning Spanish! The English/Spanish Bible is super helpful.

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Cleaning Pregnancy Solutions with these crazy gals. (3 of my sisters, plus Ada and Althea who visited from PA for a week. We had a great time with them… you girls can come back any time!!!)

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Awkward beach foot picture

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Lovely girls

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Weird girls… 😉

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They look like models in this picture… not normally something I appreciate but in their case it was accidental so I don’t mind.

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Meanwhile us older girls aren’t as photogenic, but hey–we can jump.

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The Seagull Army. (I scared them off with my journal. Take that.)

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Just because fire looks cool.

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Pancake party!!

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New game we learned called “signs”. Quite fun and very odd.

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Hospitality Sunday! We had the Ruths over plus two Clarkes and two Wimers. (which is a lot of people.)

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Rebekah turned and gave me the darlingest grin. 😀

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Bright Lights! We talked about our trip to CA and taught them some of the games we played, along with “He decidido seguir a Cristo” (I have decided to follow Jesus). They are now more ready for the trip than we were. 😀

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We went to Orlando for our cousin Victoria’s birthday party… we did floating lanterns. If you haven’t done them, you should. It was epic.

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Esther being darling as usual.

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Dr. Parker spoke at church!! He does such a fantastic job. Looking forward to him preaching again this Sunday!

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Observing

So the weather has been amazing here, and I’ve been outside quite a bit more… this afternoon, I laid out on the grass in the front yard, and just looked. There is an incredible little word that we so rarely see… in such a teeny part of our yard, I saw insects I’ve never seen before and tiny flowers I’d never noticed. (And I notice things like that.) After awhile of being mesmerized by all these tiny wonders, I got my camera. You just can’t help it after awhile if you’re a photographer of some sort… haha.

Anyway, here’s some of what I saw as captured by my camera. Though there was a lot more. I hope you enjoy! (By the way, bugs are camera shy. They don’t mind if you watch them, but when there’s a camera involved they keep hiding. Hence so few pictures of them… but there are a few. You just have to look hard.)

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(I also looked up)

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Which one(s) struck your fancy? Why?

Lately…

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We went to a park near the water…

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And saw a Great Blue Heron…

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…catch a fish.

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We also saw a Seagull.

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And one of the little boys caught a baby catfish–with their hands!

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We played “Pickleball” at church… The above picture is my friend Rachel and I. 🙂

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We lost. 😛 But we had fun!

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Cheryl and Hannah versed Elisa and Hannah.

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We had bright lights, and I got to be in a skit.

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I cut up onions, garlic, peppers and mushrooms…

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…sauteed them in coconut and olive oil…

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..put them with eggs and swiss cheese, and–yum!!

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I got a pretty little Bible for the trip! (my other Bible is really heavy… it weighs more than 2 pounds where this one weighs a half pound or so.)

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I helped paint the new walls at Pregnancy Solutions in North Port!! It’s really coming along nicely. 🙂

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Just an old picture of Josiah and I going off on our “expedition” to apply for passports…

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And, yesterday, the PASSPORTS CAME!! 😀 They came super fast–in 10 days.

My Life in Pictures

My life is quite varied, so these pictures will be as well. Enjoy the ride!

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We don’t have much for wrapping paper, so I usually make my own. This was for William’s 11th birthday. 🙂

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Just because she’s the cutest…

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I made up a fish recipe! It turned out pretty yummy… lemon, fresh garlic, rosemary from the garden, salt, cayenne, olive oil, and whatever else I put on, haha.

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I was playing around with my camera at church and got this shot. I thought it was pretty cool. (It’s through the doors in the back of the sanctuary)

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So Cheryl found this recipe on Pintrest, for pumpkin pancakes. And I made them. And YUM!!!

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Seriously, they were so good I made them again the next day for lunch. 😀

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We got flowers for Emily’s 17th birthday! 🙂

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Rose are so amazing…

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Bright lights has been going well! This was when they were making cards at our last meeting. I love how CREATIVE these girls are. It’s awesome. 😀

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Can you tell we’re excited about autumn?? Hannah and I put out the fall decor at Mann Tile.

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So, back in July, I was at that building there hearing about the vision for a Pregnancy Solutions location in North Port.

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And last Saturday (and the Saturday before) I was across the street, at the new location for Pregnancy Solutions! They are an awesome ministry, and we’re blessed to be able to help out!

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We tiled both of their bathrooms… Hannah and I mainly just helped get up the old flooring. 😛

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One of the finished bathrooms! I need to get better pics sometime soon…

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This is pretty much my favorite thing about Florida. This is at Publix…

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I love the sky. It’s always different, always beautiful.

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Communion/Fellowship meal!! My favorite Sunday of the month. 😀

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If you ever need chairs set up, just ask Grace Bible Church. We’ve got servant’s hearts, and we’re fast too.

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At the business, we finally got a SIGN!! Yippee!

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Josiah finding the perfect music for filling out his application to Central America. 😉 (Also, Esther. And Duckie.)

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So my purse broke last night at music lessons… and since it was just us girls, I asked if we could go look for a new one. This is what we came home with. 😀 Can you tell I have the trip on the brain?

Vell… there ya go. A glimpse into my life. 🙂

I’m Back (Also a Rainbow)

For those who were waiting for my next post on the abortion issue, I’m sorry I haven’t posted it yet. I inadvertently took a break from blogging as well as social media for the last few weeks… I’m back now. I should be continuing the series shortly. 🙂 Until then… I just wanted to share this with you.

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Yesterday morning, I was getting ready to go to work, putting my things in the mini-van. I sat down inside the side door way, and began praying for the Bright Lights Leaders (we had a meeting on Sunday and they all gave requests.) I looked up for some reason, and to my total shock, there was a brilliant rainbow. My mouth literally fell open. 😀 It was not raining at all… It did not make any sense that there was a rainbow.

It was one of those times where you just feel like God is smiling at you. That He knows, He cares, and He’s looking out for you.

It’s especially awesome because those things are all true. They aren’t just feelings. Still, though, it is very kind of Him to let us feel it sometimes, too. 🙂

Happy Things

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For some reason I keep taking pictures of the moon lately. It just makes me happy I guess…

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Sunflower number one!

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I got to see some of my friends from J127 (and meet a new friend) at the FPEA homeschool convention! (And also got to help pack up. :D)

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Hehe… my papa posing with an Apple sticker in the middle of cleaning out the Cave.

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Tomatoes!!

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Isn’t it pretty??

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All from the garden!

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Tortoise out back of the store… he was eating grass viciously. I did not think such a thing was possible until I watched him. What should we call him?

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Very well attended vision breakfast for Pregnancy Solutions… they have now raised all the money they needed to have a center in North Port!!! This is a really big, really exciting God thing.

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We finally had a Leader’s Training with five girls from Bright Lights!!

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Part of the yummy lunch we had… Raspberry lemon trifle for dessert!

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Sunflower number two!

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Esther and Sword.

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Matthew and rain and sword.

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Thai Basil Coconut Curry that I made! I just looked at a bunch of recipes and made up my own version. And it actually tasted good. It was awesome. Oh! Also the Thai Basil and onion were from our garden. 😀

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Esther blowing out candles on her strawberry-lemonade cupcakes. 😀

There ya go, some happy things in my life lately. 🙂

Guess Who’s Two…

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…our little Esther-girl. What a blessing and a delight she has been! It’s so hard to believe that just over two years ago we did not know this amazing little person. We are so thankful God gave her to us…

She is such a funny little lady. She loves to play “tag” (aka run-around-the-church) with her little friends, splash in puddles, watch storms coming in, eat chocolate, read books, lay on the sidewalk and look at stars, look at pictures, play with dolls, climb up and down bunk bed ladders (which is slightly terrifying to watch.), draw “happys” (smiley faces), play with toy (and real) animals. She’s quite brave, full of spunk, and sweet, too.

Happy birthday, Esther!!

Reckon on Surrender

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Begin to believe, and hold on to it steadfastly, that He has taken that which you have surrendered to Him. You positively must not wait to feel either that you have given yourself, or that God has taken you. You must simply believe it, and reckon it to be the case.

–Hannah Whitall Smith, “A Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life”

(quoted in “Grace for the Good Girl”)

One Week

Wednesday, April 3rd. Settlers of Catan, plus various home things. (not pictured)

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Thursday, April 4th. Boarded the Nina and Pinta. (Plus Esther and Josiah shared earbuds.)

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Friday, April 5th. Blocks, dominoes, candles, dice, gardening, Red-Winged Black birds, Nostpinning (Emily),

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Saturday, April 6th. Family Conference at HisRanch. Tons of very energetic children to organize.

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Sunday, April 7th. Church, Fellowship meal (no pictures, sorry), Tampa with Cousins!!

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Monday, April 8th. Work, Bright Lights, crazy happy girls.

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Tuesday, April 9th. Sunrises, 360 degree turns on the highway (ask for the story, and sorry no pictures.), Schluter training, hands-on, yummy food.

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Wednesday, April 10th. More sunrise pictures, more yummy food, more Schluter training, no 360 on the highway, take down, rain on the way home.

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And that, folks, was my week. I’d like to say that was unusually busy, and I guess it was. But not by much. 😛 And that may, perhaps, explain my lack of posting this week. There were other things, too. It wasn’t that I wasn’t thinking (because I can never remember a time when I didn’t think.), but more that I’m developing some new-ish thoughts, and old ones are growing deeper. So… more blog posts coming up! 🙂

Weakness and Surrender (And April Fool’s Day)

So yesterday I was cleaning. Our house is never really the tidiest, but Mondays are always especially bad. I’ve found that when there’s an overwhelming mess, it helps me if I take a picture of one area, clean it, and then take a picture of it clean. Which is what I did…

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So I cleaned all that and more, and then came back inside to find this (actually it was worse, I cleared off a few things before I took the picture):

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And this:

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To be honest, I went and cried. Not so much because the areas I had just cleaned were a mess again–it was more just the fact that no matter how much I clean, it will get dirty again. Add to that the fact that I had just been very annoyed with one of my siblings–simply because they were… gasp… talking to me. Yeah. (When I get focused hard on something detailed, being social does NOT come easy at all.) I was just realizing how very helpless and weak I really am, and how easily I get annoyed, and how much I really need Him.

So… I didn’t just cry, I prayed. How can you really explain what happens when you pray? All I know is, I told Him I needed Him, badly, and I chose to praise Him anyway. And I remembered: I am not my own, I was bought with a price. And I said, okay God, if you want this body to go around cleaning up the same areas again and again and again, that is what I will do. You know best.

And I came back out in a much better frame of mind, and continued cleaning for several more hours and then cooked for a few more hours. And guess what? I wasn’t annoyed anymore. That isn’t me. That is God, all God. Sometimes surrender is so very “small”–and yet, so very big. And you know what? Surrender leads to joy. It really really does.

(And by the way, the house did actually get tidier, though it is still messy. Oh well. And we had a fun supper in honor of April Fool’s Day.)

Dessert first! Anyone notice anything odd about this picture?

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The funny thing is that my family takes stuff like this in stride. Oh, dessert first? With a fork and in a cup? Of course. Isn’t this normal?

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And then supper! Anyone notice a theme? And what do you think the orange drink is?

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