Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Belleair Beach

 My lovely ladies
The Candy Kitchen

 Karate Kid moves!
 Life in the mornings. Check the weather and make plans for the day!
 The sand digging girls.
 Friends came for the day. It was a blast being with everyone.

 All gathered up in my room for tv time.
 We ate some seafood at Crabby Bills, but Steph called it Crappy Jacks!
Back in town with the Russ clan as we hung out at the house. It was jamming time. Steve and Alma could do this daily. They gathered quite a crowd with their picking and strumming. Time with the Russ family is always too short and always great fun.

Teacher's appreciation and Mother's Day

 Love these girls like nothing I ever imagined. They are the icing on the cake of life. Or the fizz in a good cold coke! They show me love in so many ways. Olivia likes to give me a massage, clean my room, make me breakfast or a sweet card. Stephanie likes to make me crafty things and I love her chocolate chip cookies.
 Some days are better than others when it comes to school, but I got this card and it made me feel AWESOME!
My crafter girl!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


 Stephanie made the squad. She will be a South Sumter Cheerleader for 7th grade. We are very proud of her and all the hard work she did to make it. What a way to start the new adventure of public school!

FInishing school 2012-2013

School's Out! We are officially finished! Olivia is now a fifth grader and Stephanie a seventh grader.
Our last event of the year was a co-op of World Geography. All the kids had their own table to display all of their projects and then many of us Mom's brought goodies from the different places we studied. Our punch was the only representative of Antarctica. Icebergs.

 Olivia had a magnificent year of learning. She made straight A's and one B. She is a great reader and loves science. She finds math a challenge, but loves it when she gets an A!

 Josie tried on Stephanie's headpiece from India and was a cutie.
 Jeanne and Joey McDonald came to see all the projects. Joey loved Stephanie's tour of Australia where she included a budget. For a 13 day continent tour of the natural wonders for a family of four it would cost approximately $35,000.00 !!
Stephanie made straight A's in all of her classes with Florida Virtual School. It was her first time having five different teachers and much responsibility. I am very proud of her efforts. She is a great student.

We have made some changes that I knew were coming. They have not been made without much prayer and fasting. We have loved our adventures that came with homeschooling and I would not change the privilege I have had in teaching my girls all their foundational basics. I have loved building a deep relationship with them based on God's word and experiencing so many avenues of learning. The other moms I have worked with have been amazing. Both girls are going to be attending public school in the fall. Olivia will be attending the local elementary school and Stephanie the middle school. New and great adventures await them. As for me, I am not sure where the Lord is leading is a time of waiting and trust.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Joseph's Story

Studying the story of Joseph has taken a little longer than expected, but with the stories of his life, it could have taken much much longer for me to get a grasp on his journey from a shepherd to a high governing official.

From the boy who shared too much with his brothers - jealous brothers at that - to the many dreams he shared while wearing the coat of many colors, the too many "atta-boys" from a father who often forgot the calling and covenant the Almighty God had made with him way back when, to the plotting and scheming that the brothers did to get him away and in the pit, and later sold as a slave; this was just the beginning of a life of forgiveness and trust that Joesph was to live.

Then, being a diligent and honored man in the house of the Potiphar, Joesph was accused by the enuch's wife of unwarranted advances, and next came jail time. Then came more dreams. Then came more betrayal and rejection. The root of trust and betrayal grew deep in Joesph. He leaned on the only one he could - God. He then once again moved up in ranks and before we knew it, he was second-in-charge of the land of Egypt.

We become amazed at the grand plan of God. Over and over.

We read the story in the last chapters of Genesis and it seems to all get wrapped up so quickly, but this story took years. Years!

A new brother was born and raised, a father left empty to his core out of disappointment. Brothers who lived in guilt and shame at every turn. Then came famine. Utter despair. The tide begins to turn, and God's plan to renumber his chosen people begins. More bargaining ensues, more deals made. Deception from years past rears its ugly head and brothers are still not trusted. Joseph's heart, in the healing process for years, finally gets its first exercise. In his humanness, tears flow. A man of power is still weak.

Finally, we hear how he and his brothers alone make restitution. In shock and awe, they are able to go home and tell Jacob the great truth of his son's life. Restoration is made in such a grand way, by even Pharaoh himself, we believers must know that everything God restores is better, stronger, and greater. Much pain and great grief was a layer in the lives of these men throughout history, but so was much faith and great trust in a plan that never came as a surprise to the Creator of all.

During this study, I have felt betrayal like I never have known. I have been imprisoned in a "jail" (of my own doing), I have only hoped that others around could recognize that "God was with me."  I have had dreams that make me sit up and take notice. I have seen my own family restored in relationships I did not think could happen. I am in no way calling myself a Joesph, but I do feel a kindredness to his plight and great life of forgiveness.

I am ever so greatful for the forgiveness offered to me. All of us need a Savior. He is enough.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Appreciated and Loved

Being a mother is a thankless job sometimes, unappreciated in the wee hours when dispensing meds or rubbing a back through bad dreams, settling disputes, finding new ways to cook chicken, folding the same pair of unmatched socks, teaching school daily, being an example of a godly woman, BUT then you walk in and realize they have noticed! Giant cards are made, flowers are on the counter and a powerpoint is made for you to watch and rewatch as they brag over your mad skills! Thanks to whoever put teacher appreciation close to Mother's Day, because it is like winning the lottery around here! This Momma feels loved!
Jeremiah 9:23-24

Friday, May 3, 2013

Random goodness!

 Stephanie has been getting into this whole baking thing lately...a few weeks ago she made these puff pastries...they don't look too light, but they are and eggy. If she would have had cheese in them, they would have tasted like the ones from the Brazilian restaurant we went to on my birthday! Yum! That is blackberry jelly on top... it is the favorite around here!
 This was a new fish we tried out. It is called Swai. Pronounced Sw-eye. It is an Asian fish and very meaty. It is a nice dense white meat and good size portions. I cooked it with just mild seasonings, but the dark color came from the paprika. It is one we will have on the menu again. It is not as strong as catfish, but not as mild as talipia. The tomatoes around this county are AMAZING! I am just waiting for the corn and the watermelon to come into season, then I know we will be knee deep in summertime!
 We traveled up to Georgia to help Gary and Peg with a yard sale. It was quite the event. The second night of our adventure we ended up slumber partying it up in the empty house. We had put all the loot out on the front lawn and wanted to be there in case any late night or early morning customers came! We worked so hard...and the end result was just grand or two!
 We saw some sights coming home on those old county roads, one was a church named "Old Regular Baptist Church". Now that was a hoot. It caused us to have some laughs as we tried to figure out the brainstorming of how that name was chosen. Another was this worker outside of a Kangaroo jiffy store. She was on a smoke break. She was reading signs, just not the one that said "NO SMOKING!" "FLAMMABLE!" 
 Another great sight was this old redesigned Checkers restaurant. It is now the Chinese/Japanese drive thru! I wonder if you pick a side depending on what type of food you want. Yep, in Stark. I guess there was one too many burger joints.
 Another night we were driving down the road and we were all left in awe over the sun peeking out through a cloud. Many nights this happens, but this night it caught all of us in a glimpse of splendor. We felt like we had just had a small glimpse of heaven. We wondered about how it will be when the clouds roll back and our Savior comes to take us home.