Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Pumpkin Patch

While Abigail was at school today, Frankie and I visited the Big Orange Pumpkin Farm in Gunter, TX with the church preschool.

The farm has pumpkins still on the vine, perfect for pies!  There are hayrides, a 6-foot tall hay maze and a petting farm.  Frankie enjoyed feeding the goats, sheep and cows.  She wasn't a fan of the longhorn. He just about took off my hand when trying to eat a pellet! 

I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,
for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
Psalm 50:9-10

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Toast!

Twice a month is Abigail's Jr. Toastmasters meeting.  Tonight Abigail delivered her Ice Breaker speech for the new school year.  

The group is filled with many familiar faces from last year's group.  This is Abigail's fourth year in a public speaking program.  Last year she served as an officer in Jr. Toastmasters but he softball schedule this year doesn't allow her to make that kind of commitment this year.  

Public speaking and communicating is an important part of our society. It allows us to form connections, influence decisions, and motivate change. It is a basic life skill.  It's also essential for Christians to be able to articulate their beliefs and have the ability to persuade others to a belief in Christ. 

The group is led by a Twice Distinguished Toastmaster, Ms. Vogel.  The kids love her and she really seems to enjoy working with this group. 

The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority.
Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.  John 14:10

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Studies

We are at week three of our preparations for Texas Bible Bowl. Today we had a guest visit from Sam, one of my National Bible Bowl winners from ten years ago.  Sam was on the team with Caleb, Richard and Blake who took the first place team title in 2008 over 1 Samuel. 

Sam stopped by to encourage the kids in their Bible studies and in their Christian friendships.  After he left the kids started talking about a rematch against the old winners and this years team!  I think that would be a great idea! 

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Game Time in Longview

Our day began sometime before five a.m. today.  At five we were on the road headed to Longview, Texas for a softball tournament.  Abigail has bumped up to an 18U team, tEAMSMiTH because of her upcoming birthday in December. 

This was the first tournament, first games for the team to play together. The girls played three games, unfortunately they lost all three games.  But by the third game they were playing like a team and beginning to connect! 

Just like sports and winning offers lessons in being gracious winners and compassion for the opponent, there are lessons in losing.  Lessons the girls and parents worked on today included patients, not becoming frustrated, the importance of encouraging team mates and so much more. 

Hopefully next weekend in Houston they will have better results!  The girl caught for two games and played second base on the other game.  

Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.  2 Thessalonians 1:4-5

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Not Standardized Students

If you noticed, Abigail was absent from our church homeschool groups meetup this morning.  The girl had to take the PSAT this morning at Willow Bend Academy, fortunately she had a few friends join her. 

Standardized tests are not perfect. We all know smart, knowledgeable people who struggle on standardized tests. But neither is it useless. They do measure both specific knowledge and valuable thinking skills.  A strong PSAT score also translates into college scholarship money. 

Many people think of kids who play sports as dumb jocks but that isn't true.  When we were at Lubbock Christian University's softball camp they were telling the girls they needed a minimum of a 25 on the ACT test and have to be NCAA Eligible to play ball, which Abigail has met both.  To put that in perspective Dallas Baptist University only requires a 21 for admittance! 

If an athlete is considering playing college sports they have to be smart or they won't be able to meet the demands of classes with the added load of a sports schedule!  On a side note, her scores are great but I'm more impressed with her character, integrity and heart! She also has a great group of friends that hold that bar up for her! 

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Household of Faith

Such a great morning!  A couple of weeks ago our houmeschoolers at the Church of Christ on McDermott Road were asking how we could help the victims of Hurricane Harvey the devastated so much of the Houston area.  

I reached out to the Lakewood Church of Christ in Baytown, Texas where Caleb interned this summer to see what kind of needs they had.  They are in need of cleaning supplies and pantry items for the community they serve in Baytown.  

With that our home school families got together bringing items to help out the Lakewood congregation.   The kids also made cards of love and encouragement for the recipients!  

After wards the kids played and decorated cookies!  Frankie was very pleased with her colorful cookie! We're so lucky to have such generous and compassionate friends!  

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.  Galatians 6:10

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Heartfelt Friends

Once a month Frankie and I get together with our Heartfelt Group, and tonight we actually snapped a picture. 

The Church of Christ on McDermott Road has probably thirty Heartfelt Ministry groups.  Each group pairs up Heartfelt Moms, empty nest moms, with Heartfelt Sisters, mom with children still at home. 

It is truly a Titus 2 ministry of the older, godly women ministering to the emotional and spiritual needs of the younger women. Friendships are formed and it gives that large congregation a small intimate feeling. 

We spend time in fellowship and laughter talking life together. And then open up God's Word to feed our souls and spiritually spur each other on! It is such a blessing that Frankie is included in this group and loved on by these sweet ladies.  Tonight we discussed our gifts and how the body of Christ works best with everyone doing their part and that not every one's role is not the same but all are necessary.  What a powerful message in a world full of competition. 

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:3-5

Monday, October 9, 2017

Whatever is Good

Tonight was the last double header of the fall session for the inaugural season of the HSAA Angels.  The girls began with a game against Naaman Forest High School, a Garland ISD team.  The girls are playing really well together an should be ready for the Spring season. 

Our youth minister Barrett and his wife Jenna came out to cheer on Abigail. Jeanna played high school ball and the girls have had a great time talking softball.  Abigail had another triple and an RBI.  She walked on her second at bat and scored.  The final score was 5-4.

In the second game my catcher girl split time behind the plate and playing 2nd base. This game was against J. J. Pearce High School, a Richardson ISD school.  Abigail had a double and a single being moved on around the bases by her teammates to score both times. It was a fun game to watch because the girls are really playing like a team! Final score was 9-0, HSAA for the win.  

One of my favorite parts about playing homeschool high school sports is that at the end of each game they invite the opposing team to join them on the mound in prayer. Abigail leads a prayer as the girls from both teams join hands.  It is a prayer of gratitude for the day of ball, safety as they continue to pursue sports and kindness towards all.  The girls are learning that softball isn't just about the game it's also about how you treat people, all people! 

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism. Colossians 3:23-25

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Day of Rest

There are times like last night when the busy-ness of life calls for a late Saturday night out before the Lord's Day. It could be ball games, date night or like last night homecoming. The 'rule' in our house if the event is wholesome and appropriate, then a late night is approved as long as the following Sunday morning is pleasant.  That the kiddo or parent who stayed out doesn't allow a lack of sleep to create a grumpy Sunday morning.  

Sunday morning is the very best day of the week.  It is the day we come together to celebrate what Christ did for us and to praise Him.  You can't do that grumpy! 

This morning I'm thankful that the kids have grown up with that understanding!  Here is our Sunday:  8:30am-9:45 Abigail and I worked in the nursery while Frankie and Jon went to services.  10:00-10:45 Bible Class for all.  11:00-12:30 Teach Bible Bowl.  12:30-2:30 Life Group.  3:00-5:30 Softball practice for Abigail! That's a long day, especially for a young lady who was out past midnight! It was even a long day for this mom who stayed up waiting on the young lady to come home! 

This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:22

Saturday, October 7, 2017

North Texas Homeschool Homecoming Dance

Tonight was the 11th annual North Texas Homeschool Homecoming!  The kids have been looking forward to it for months! The Gungans came down and brought Ms. Hannah with them.  Little Ms. Abigail was thrilled to be with her buddies.  They met up with Gracie, Gabe, Molly and Crissy at Olive Garden for dinner and then headed off together for an evening of fun. 

The North Texas Homeschool Homecoming Dance is open to homeschoolers in the Dallas and Fort Worth area.  It is a fun, safe evening for all.  The event has a huge partnership with the homeschooling families.  Their are parents who have pre-screened the music played by the DJs.    

The event also hosts other dance alternative options for the evening like game tables with chess, card games, board games, etc. There was catered food and refreshments, a photo booth, a fantastic light show and more! 

Of course being an event organized by homeschooling moms there was a dress code for the guys and girls. One of the funniest rules was 'no kilts for the guys!' Only at a homeschool event would that need to be written! 

Abigail and her friends had a great time. Abigail said her cheeks hurt from laughing so much.  I'm so thankful for her sweet circle of friends! 

I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:7

Friday, October 6, 2017

HSAA Homecoming Football Game

Our family had a wonderful evening at the homecoming football game tonight. What?  Yes, we home school. Yes, homeschoolers have homecoming. Living in the Plano/Dallas area has its advantages! Tonight was the Home School Athletic Association’s (HSAA) homecoming football game. 

At half time HSAA honored all of their team sports including Cross Country, Volleyball, Football, Golf, Basketball, Soccer, Baseball, Track & Field, Water Polo, Cheerleading and Softball.  HSAA also put together a beautiful color printed program for the evening with photos and game schedules for each of the sports.   

Abigail organized the PEACH Jr. Sr. Club event for this month to be attending tonight's game.  At half time she joined her team mates on the field for recognition.  

After the game the softball players headed over to Wendy's. It's great that they are are old enough to drive them selves and hang out together outside of the ball field! I love the discipline, integrity, and responsibility that team sports adds to the character of the girls.  It has become so rare these days! 

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, others may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of His return.  1 Peter 2:12

Serving and Thriving

The first Friday of the month means it's time for our church family to serve our neighbors in McKinney through the Thrive ministry.  We met up at the church of Christ on Avenue F congregation to bag up grocery bags of fruits and vegetables for the residence in McKinney.  

We had the biggest group of volunteers ever today, including seven of my Bible Bowl kids! It was fantastic!  When we set up at Fitzhugh Park in McKinney the kids helped greet families and pass out healthy foods! When we finished up two hours later and handed out 200 bags of produce!  

He raises up the poor from the dust;
    he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
    and inherit a seat of honor.
1 Samuel 2:8

Thursday, October 5, 2017

C.S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert

Tonight Jon and I had the opportunity for the all too rare date night! Abigail didn’t have any softball this evening so she was able to hang out with Frankie and not interrupt her routine. 

Over the last several years we’ve been able to see some of Max McLean’s one man plays like Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce, both based on the books written by C.S. Lewis.  McLean is a very gifted actor with an amazing talent for acting.  

We have been looking forward to tonight’s performance since we learned about it a year ago.  The play ran on Broadway for fifteen weeks, which is amazing given it’s Christian theme. 

C.S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert is a one-man play about an influential, world-class thinker.  C.S. Lewis (1898–1963), the British author and scholar  best known for his Chronicles of Narnia and revered for his religious writings. Lewis  was a man given as much to rationality and intellectual rigor as he was enchanted by myths and the imagination, he was converted in his thirties from a secular worldview to a deeply personal belief in the incarnated God of Christianity. Max McLean, portrays Lewis and wrote this script from a host of texts written by Lewis.  

For our Tulsa family, be on the watch for McLean’s plays coming to your area.  He should be performing Martin Luthur on Trial in your area in November!  It is the trial for the soul of Martin Luther, and the prosecutor…is the Devil. Luther’s beloved wife Katarina defends him as witnesses including Adolf Hitler, Sigmund Freud, Rabbi Josel, St. Paul, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Pope Francis take the stand!  

When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.  Acts 13:43

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Homestyle Pickled Jalapenos

Living in Texas you quickly learn that there are some things that grow very well, like peppers!  We have four jalapeno plants that continue to produce beautiful peppers. Time to get out the canning jars! 

Homestyle Picked Jalapenos
3 1/2 lb. jalapeƱo peppers, washed and sliced
1 cup sliced white onion
2 large sliced carrots
2 1/2 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
2 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp Canning Salt for Pickling & Preserving
1 Tbsp. sugar
garlic cloves, crushed (1 per pint jar)
Ball® Pickle Crisp (1/8 tsp per pint jar)
6 peppercorns (per pint jar)

1. Use gloves to slice peppers.  To a stainless steel pan add jalpenos, onions and carrots.  Add to that vinegar, water, salt and sugar bring to a boil.

2. Place 1 crushed garlic clove, peppercorns and Pickle Crisp in a hot sterilized jar, and pack jar tightly with vegetable mixture, leaving 1⁄2-inch headspace. Ladle hot pickling liquid over vegetables, leaving 1⁄2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band, and adjust to fingertip-tight. Place jar in boiling- water canner. 

3.  Process jars 10 minutes. 

Let them set for at least two weeks before serving on nachos, barbecue or whatever needs a little extra kick!  

"The traders of Sheba and Raamah, they traded with you; they paid for your wares with the best of all kinds of spices, and with all kinds of precious stones and gold. Ezekiel 27:22

Sassy Sonic Smiles

Today we celebrate little Miss Emma on what would have been her 7th birthday today.  We passed out Sonic gift cards to people who serve and love kiddos - school crossing guards. We know how Miss Sassypants loved her Sonic and her memory continues to bring warm smiles! After wards we stopped by Sonic to share a few tater tots with Padme’ another favorite thing to do for Emma and her dog Max! We love the Stewart family and miss that lil' Miss Sassypants! 

When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;
    the light of my face was precious to them.  Job 29:24

Monday, October 2, 2017

HSAA Softball

The Home School Athletic Association, HSAA had another double header tonight.  The first game was against Garland High School.  Abigail hit a hard ball past the center fielder or a triple.  She also had two RBI's.  HSAA for the win 7 to 5! 

Their second game was against J. J. Pearce High School in Richardson.  Abigail was hit by a pitch at one at bat and scored on a wild pitch to home.  The HSAA Angels beat the Pearce Mustangs 9-0!  

Abigail had a great game, I was worried about her being tired because she ran four miles in the morning; then worked four hours at the church preschool; next she did her school work and then the two double headers! 

Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.
Proverbs 19:15

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Happy Birthday, Friend

What a fun evening it combined some of our favorite things!  I mean who doesn't like tacos, cake, and sweet friendship?! 

We joined the Baileys in a surprise 50th birthday party for Robin.  Gracie orchestrated the entire event and did a fantastic job.  The room was filled with sweet friends from church and homeschooling. 

It was a great day to celebrate a dear friend! 

In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect,
 not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.  1 Timothy 3:11

Studying First Samuel

It that time of the year, you know the most wonderful time of the year, Bible Bowl! This year we are studying the book of first Samuel which covers the life of Samuel and the two kings he anointed Saul and David. 

I have been working for months on a study guide, highlighted Bibles, lesson plans, practice tests, and re-enforcement games in preparations for the next six months of classes.  

My study guide is uploaded on the Texas Bible Bowl website to aid other teachers in preparing for competition.  There is also a download of the highlighted Bible and practice test will be available online soon. 

This year I have thirty-three kids and Jon is teaching a class with seven adults!  How exciting is that! It's going to be a great year! 

Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man.
1 Samuel 2:26

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

KISS Concert

Date night!!  They are few and far between but they seem to involve a concert venue.  KISS was one of the few hair bands from the '80s that Jon has never seen in concert, so tickets seemed like the perfect birthday gift for him.  

I'm not sure I could name more than two songs, you know, the two KISS songs everyone knows but I do adore my sweet husband who has taken me to many country music concerts and operas.  

The concert was at the Pavilion of the new Toyota Music Factory in Los Colinas.  The Pavilion has a 4,000 capacity indoor theater and opens up to an 8,000-person capacity open-air venue.  The acoustics were great and KISS sounded great for a couple of 60 year old men! It was a great evening with my honey! 

Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.
Amos 5:23

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

LCU Futures Camp

Today was a recruiting event for Lubbock Christian University's Futures Camp.  Coach Hays invites players from California to Kentucky to showcase their skills. 

The Lady Chap began their softball program in 2008 and kicked it off with a 60-10 season, winning their division National Championship. 

The team has continued winning over 85% of their games and winning six conference and conference tournament championships. 

Today's camp was showcasing these forty-seven high school ball players.  Drills included timed base running, hitting, bunting, slapping, and catching.  The skills portion included a four hour work out.

There was also a compliance portion that included NCAA eligibility for D1 and D2 players. This is required before a player can sign a letter of intent with a college.  The eligibility includes skills, playing experience, ACT & SAT scores, GPA and extra-curricular involvement.  Abigail is now NCAA eligible to have conversations with recruiting college coaches. 

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:5

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Visiting 'My Kids'

We headed up to Lubbock Christian University for a few days.  It was odd to be on campus while Caleb is traveling aboard.  

We headed up after Abigail's Collin College classes and made it in time to have dinner with Richard, Melissa and Sonny. 

After a great Mexican dinner and some banter and texts with Caleb in Spain, we headed to Richard and Melissa new apartment.  

It was a real joy to see their home and to see them so happy in their new life as a married couple!  It was also good to spend time with Sonny and exchange Caleb stories.   I sure miss my kids! 

For the sake of my family and friends,
    I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
    I will seek your prosperity.
Psalm 122:8-9

Friday, September 15, 2017

More Friday Night Lights

Tonight's Friday Night Lights was the Prosper vs. Liberty game.  Abigail had friends from the Church of Christ on McDermott Road youth group on both teams.   The game was played at the practice stadium for the Dallas cowboys!  Football is kind of a big deal in Texas! 

The youth had a great time together cheering for both teams because sweet friends were on both sides.  Our two McDermott youth ministers, Barrett and Matt (and their wives), also came out for the game!

I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Psalm 16:8

A Nice Loooong Lunch

Today we made met up with our kindred spirits, Ms. Donna and Hannah, for lunch.  Bible Bowl is quickly approaching and I needed to pass on all of the materials I write for the Gungans to use at the Ada congregation.  

I know, we could have just stuck a thumb drive in the mail but having a four lunch with friends is so much more fun!  I'm pretty sure my cheeks are sore from all that laughing! 

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
Proverbs 13:20

Monday, September 11, 2017

Double-Header Mondays

One of the benefits to leaving in a large city is that our home schooled youth have access to JV and Varsity sports.  

Abigail began playing JV with CHANT's organization in eighth grade and then joined the Varsity team last year in tenth grade.  The CHANT team has moved over to the larger home schooling sports program in the Dallas area called HSAA (Home School Athletic Association). 

Tonight was the HSAA Angel's first fall season double header.  In the first game Abigail played second base and had an RBI.  In the second game she caught and had a great a bat, but was stranded on first. 

But what I'm most thrilled about is that at the conclusion of each game the two teams meet in the pitchers circle to pray.  The player leading that prayer is my little catcher girl! 

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday Softball

If you've ever wondered what high school softball looks like, here goes: Sunday afternoons are scrimmages, Monday nights are game nights, Tuesday nights are hitting practice, and Thursdays is team practice.  

After church services this morning we headed to our Life Group for lunch and devotional time.  Right after that we were back at the ball fields. These are the same fields the kids have played little league ball on since Caleb and Abigail were four years old. 

This afternoon was a scrimmage with her select team, tEAMSMiTH.  She had a single and double.  She played second base during half of the game and catcher for the second half. 

The girls made cookies for our Life Group meeting and the left overs were a big hit with her team after the game!  It was a great day to play ball! 

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7

Friday, September 8, 2017

Friday Night Lights

Tonight the three amigos headed to the Allen football game.  Normally they get general admission tickets but tonight as they were heading into the stadium and season ticket holder asked if the girls would like their tickets.  So the girls enjoyed the game from the fifty yard line! 

The Allen Eagles played Evangel Christian Academy out of Shreveport, LA. The Eagles won 28-7. The girls had a great time, as always, hanging out together for a little Friday Night Lights. 

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech,
 in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  1 Timothy 4:12 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Colorful Pickled Peppers

This year Jon planted several varieties of peppers from bells, jalapeno, bananas to Serrano peppers.  We have so many peppers that today I decided to pickle some.  

I mixed the mild colorful bell peppers with the spicy ones.  Once they are pickled the will all have the same flavor, a little spicy but not too spicy. 

Pickled Peppers 
8 cups peppers 
8 garlic cloves
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
4 tablespoons kosher salt
6 tablespoons of pickling spice

Begin by washing the peppers thoroughly and snap off the stems. Use a sharp knife to make a slice make in the peppers to allow the pickling brine to fill the peppers. Next, pack the peppers into sterilized pint jars with 1 clove of garlic per pint jar. 

Combine vinegar, water, salt, and pickling spices in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour boiling brine over peppers in the pint jars, leaving ¼” of head space at the top. Seal jars with lids and bands and process in a water bath of boiling water for 10 minutes.

Wait at least a week before opening, to allow the flavors to blend. Pickled peppers have a shelf life of 2-3 years.  Once they are pickled the peppers won't be as brightly colored but will still be pretty. 

These will be tasty on alongside some barbecue! 

At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.” When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. Ruth 2:14

Monday, September 4, 2017

Summer Sounds

Today we joined our friends the Baileys to bid farewell to summer and celebrate Labor Day.  We spent the evening It was a free evening at the Allen Civic Center for an evening of classics and pops ….everything from Beethoven to Phantom of the Opera! The Allen Philharmonic Orchestra & Symphony Chorus performed along with the Sweet Adelines. 

This program was sponsored by Allen Parks and Recreation where Gracie worked for the summer. The concert was one of several Summer Sounds Concert Series.

It was a great evening with sweet friends and wonderful music! 

I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrels and harps Genesis 31:27

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Frankie's Birthday

In addition to it being Abigail's first day of college classes there was a much the important event today, Frankie's birthday! Little Ms. Frankie turned 32 today!  The Kirkwood birthdays usually begin with breakfast in bed, but today's schedule didn't allow for that. 

Instead, everyone got ready for our busy day and then we had pancakes and bacon in the living room where Frankie found her packages and cards.  

Abigail headed off to her first day of classes and Frankie and I ran up to the church building.  She thought we were there to babysit for the Mom's Bible Study, but I had made arrangements for a surprise including Little Mermaid cupcakes!  Frankie enjoyed everyone singing happy birthday to her and sharing her day. Plus she got to snuggle with the babies! It's a great day to be 32! 

The father said to his servants, 'Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, 
and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, 
and let us eat and celebrate! Luke 15:22

The Baby is Off to College

As of today we have two college students, how crazy is that!  Abigail began today taking classes at Collin College.  She's knocking out some of the freshman basics for dual credit, meaning they will count as high school credit and college hours. 

The girl wanted to start last year because she was eligible with her SAT scores but I wasn't ready for a fifteen year old to attend classes at the collegiate level. But this year she's an experienced driver and has a little more maturity to handle herself.  

We have altered our volunteer work to free up her schedule for the classes.  She was able to stack her classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays back to back.  This means the remainder of her high school classes will be doubled up on Monday-Wednesday-Friday.  And somewhere in there we will make time for Varsity Softball, select softball, piano lessons, volunteer work, working and Bible Bowl.  It's going to be a busy school year! 

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might! Ecclesiastes 9:9

Monday, August 28, 2017

Cheering on Friends

Tonight Jon and Abigail headed to the ball fields to cheer on our buddy Malachi who was the starting pitcher for tonight's game.  

Malachi had five strike outs tonight!  I'm thinking the extended fan section helped! Way to go Malachi! 

The kiddos in the picture are some of Abigail's favorite kids to hang out with! 

Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Friday, August 25, 2017

Off to Spain

Today my heart took flight across the globe as Caleb and the LCU Global Campus group headed to Spain.  They flew our of Dallas for London, then on to Madrid for their final destination of Avila, Spain. 

Last year LCU launched its Semester in Spain program.  The semester-long program, held every Fall, will bring LCU students and professors to the beautiful city of Avila, in the heart of the Spanish countryside. The students will take 15 hours of University Core-type credits with LCU professors, while also studying the Spanish language.

The LCU students will be partnered in tandem with Spanish speaking students from the University in Avila who are studying English. Classes will run Monday through Thursday, the student will be able to travel Friday through Sunday.

Today the group will fly nine hours to London and then another two and a half hours to Madrid, followed by an hour and half bus trip to the University. I'm thankful we were able to see him off at the Dallas airport.  Godspeed for the next 4+ months, Caleb and group! 

Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. 2 John 3

Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse

Today's solar eclipse was a total eclipse visible within a band across the entire contiguous United States. 
Prior to today, no solar eclipse had been visible across the entire contiguous United States since June 8, 1918; not since the February 1979 eclipse had a total eclipse been visible from anywhere in the mainland United States!

We joined our church homeschool friends for an eclipse party.  We all had our glasses and viewing boxes to check it out.  No eclipse party would be complete without snacks, so we even had mini-eclipses made from Banana Moon Pies and thin Oreos! 

In the coolness of the afternoon with the sun partially covered the kids played a little ball in the park. 

And when I extinguish you, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars; 
I will cover the sun with a cloud And the moon will not give its light.  Ezekiel 32:7

First Day of School

It's the first day of school pictures for the boys!  Every year they've taken their first day photo in front of the chap after chapel.  This year there were a couple of new additions to the photo, a wife and a girlfriend. Richard's wife Melissa and Caleb's girlfriend Sonny joined in the fun!  

In the lower right corner are the photos are the photos from their freshman and sophomore years.  Caleb has had a little fun wearing the same 'Future LCU Alumni' shirt each year! 

For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.  Matthew 12:50

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Back to School

Summer ends today for Caleb as he heads back to Lubbock Christian University for his third year of college. It will be an incredible year for my kind-hearted, God-fearing Bible major.  I'm thrilled to see what God has in store for him but I am going to miss his warm smile! 

May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you!
Thessalonians 3:16

Friday, August 18, 2017

Darius Rucker Concert

It's time for a little country music!  Abigail's sweet friend Gracie bought her a Darius Rucker CD a while back and we love his music.  The theater was so much nicer and cozier than the big arenas in Dallas. It was a family friendly environment. Yes, I said family friendly even though it is at the casino.  You don't have to enter through the casino and it's not the drink fest that Jon and I have faced at other venues. 

The opening act was a group named Midland, who were recently featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live.  They are a country act with a Dwight Yoakam sound. They toured last year with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.  They've got a great sound, they are still working on their stage presence. 

Then it was time for the main event!  Darius put on a two hour show that was incredible!  He stopped to honor a wounded warrior with house keys to a new home and a standing ovation or thanks to the veteran!  

Some of our favorite hits from the former Hootie & the Blowfish lead man are: 

Southern Style 
History in the Making
Comeback Song
Homegrown Honey
It Won’t Be Like This For Long
So I Sang

As a public service announcement for moms who think it would be a great idea to take your son and youngest daughter to a concert 12 hours before the son leaves for college and then out of the country. If you choose a country artist who happens to play a song with lyrics about the milestones of a young man growing up with a final verse, like:

No one believed in me as much as Mom
See, she worked overtime to buy my first guitar
When the angels called her home
My sister asked if I would speak
But there were no words to say how much she meant to me
So I sang, "It Is Well With My Soul"
And I played, "I'm So Tired Of Being Alone"
'Cause those were Mama's favorite songs
And what I felt would take too long to say
So I sang

You might end up a weeping, sappy mess! But still, so happy to have this one more sweet moment with the boy as he reached for my hand! 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 

Summer Fun

Our last big hoopla for the summer was a trip across the Texas border for the Darius Rucker concert!  It was the our first visit to the Choctaw Casino Resort, and of course the kids first visit to a casino.  Abigail and I had a little fun at the idea of taking the Bible Intern to the casino.  

The concert venue joins the casino but you don't have to enter the casino to go into the grand theater.  We did go into the casino for dinner before the concert.  We enjoyed burgers at Gilley's and enjoyed hanging out together.  

The casino was filled with guitars and memorabilia signed by lots of famous performers. We were excited to see some of our favorite Oklahoma performers including Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, Merle Haggard, Vince Gill even Toby Keith! 

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Psalms 16:6