Friday Favorites = Family & God’s Faithfulness

This past week could pretty much be summed up with one word – Family!  What a blessing to have a loving family who love God, run to the Throne of Grace with you and for you, and celebrate blessings and weep in sorrows together.  We’ve had pretty much all of that this past week.  It was a reminder of how blessed I am, and I certainly don’t take it for granted.

Last Friday gave me time with my youngest daughter and her two little guys.  How fun it is that they’re getting big enough to ride in the stroller while their mommy and Gigi have lunch and do a little shopping!

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Saturday morning took me to a 10K that my husband ran in.  I’m so proud of his work at his running distance and time.  Staying healthy and fit is important to both of us and he finds running helps him with that goal.  I’m a walker, not a runner, so I stand on the sidelines and cheer him on!  This  was his fourth time to run in this particular race and it was his best time yet!  I’m so proud of him!

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My flower boxes continue to bring a smile to my face, even in this early fall season.  I’m looking for something to transition them into autumn boxes, maybe with some mums and mini pumpkins.

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Sunday afternoon took us to central Kentucky to visit my family.  We had planned to go for Labor Day, but God providentially postponed our trip, knowing what we did not – that our family would be dealing with a crisis the next weekend.  I mentioned what happened in yesterday’s POST.  How grateful we were to be able to be there for my sister and brother-in-law.

We also had the fun of celebrating mine and my sister’s birthdays. My sweet parents grilled delicious steaks, baked potatoes and all the trimmings.

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My mom mixed and my dad churned their famous homemade ice cream to accompany the Tiramisu cake my mom had purchased.  I might have to walk some extra miles this coming week, but it was worth it!

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Winchester, Kentucky is home to the famous Ale-8 One, a ginger soft drink. They’re selling it in East Tennessee now, too!  A friend of mine has purchased it for me locally and been “carded!” but it’s not alcoholic!  It’s purely a soft drink and we love it! We always stock up when we’re home!  Their salsa is also super-good!

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Central Kentucky is beautiful, and I always love getting to visit my home, but the best part about it is spending time with my family that lives there. Our week there was full of family fun and family sorrows, but God’s grace was seen in it all. His grace allowed us to have the sweet times of fun, and it continues to give strength to endure the hardship.  What would we do without the Lord?!

So tell me…

  • How have you seen God’s providence in your life this week?
  • What do you add to fall flower boxes?
  • Who’s heard of Ale-8? Have you tried it?
  • Would you please pray for my brother-in-law, Tim?  He has a long road of recovery ahead of him.  Thank you!

Have a great weekend! Find a place to worship God and be strengthened in His Word!

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Birthday Reflections

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Birthdays ~ we have one every year, and mine just happened to be yesterday.  To be honest, there are days when I sigh at getting older, but I’m finding that the way to beat the blues is to enter each year (and each day) with a thankful heart.

As I sat and reflected on my birthday, I came up with this list of SOME of the blessings that have fallen to me in this last year.

  • The blessing of getting to share God’s Word and speak to women.  This last year I spoke again at a Pastor’s wives retreat not long after my birthday.  You typically don’t get asked to speak when you’re still “green” in ministry.  But when you’ve weathered the storms and can still smile and love God with all your heart, you have validity in your message. I also had the blessing of flying to Michigan and doing a ladies’ retreat at a great church.  That was so wonderful.  The ladies encouraged my heart.  The time up north was beautiful as we looked out the windows at the drifted snow.  I am so amazed at the blessings and joys God gives me in allowing me to serve Him!
  • Thanksgiving with my parents. I am so blessed to be four hours from my parents and be able to spend time with them.  Family grows dearer with every day.  I realize more and more how precious a gift it is to be with them, to glean from them and show love to them.  This year was the first time it was just my husband and me with my mom and dad.  We put their Christmas tree up after dinner, watched Christmas movies with hot bowls of popcorn in our laps, and took drives in the country.  It sounds like its own kind of Hallmark movie, doesn’t it?  It was.
  • Days of retreat at a lake cabin.  To have dear friends who allow us time at their cabin that we might refresh ourselves is a blessing I cannot even describe.  We didn’t need as many days to rest up when we were younger, but to have a day away gives us new vigor for the ministry and refreshes our weary bodies!
  • Christmas with our grown children.  If you think Christmas with your little kids was fun, wait until they’re all grown and you see their faces with their spouses sitting around your dining room table. My heart was as full as my dining room table as we ate, laughed, reminisced, played games, opened the Scriptures, prayed and shared gifts.  Wow.  How sweet.
  • Enjoying a second trip to Israel.  This would never have happened in my younger days!  First, there was no desire to go.  But also, the demands of parenting wouldn’t have allowed it, nor would our bank account!  But God graciously provided in every way, and this second trip was even better than the first!
  • Special times away with my husband.  As in the prior blessing, our times away years ago were few and far between.  We enjoyed dates near home, and that was great!  But now we can go away for a night or an afternoon and not worry about homeschool, or schedules of children at home.  We went to DreamMore resort in Pigeon Forge for Valentine’s Day and had so much fun!  We’ve enjoyed Pigeon Forge Wyndham Resort a couple of times, as well.  Afternoons at Biltmore are a favorite for both of us as we stroll the gardens, forgetting pressures and concentrating on communication and time together.  We realize that every day we have together is a gift from God.
  • Becoming a (foster) Grandparent.  Though the twin boys my daughter and son-in-law are caring for are not our flesh, they were born in our hearts!  They’ve completely taken over every chamber and we are blessed to be a part of their lives and smother them with love!!  I had no idea how full this time in my life would be! Wow, just wow.
  • Ministering to children, both at home and church.  My weekly Bible club with my neighbor children is such a joy to me. What a gift to get to pour God’s Word into their hearts and minds.  Pioneer Club at church has been another way to get to serve God and minister to first and second graders!
  • Our first family vacation.  I shared about that here on my blog, but I can’t leave that out of my blessings!  It was so much fun!

This doesn’t include the times I’ve spent in God’s Word, hearing from Him, and talking to Him in prayer.  I’ve left out all the sweet hours of fellowship with friends and family, in our home, in theirs, at church, in restaurants and other meeting up sites.  Even on my birthday yesterday, we had “fellowship” in the hospital where my poor brother-in-law is recovering from surgery due to fall from a roof and subsequent severe injuries.  We gathered in the waiting area and prayed, read Scripture and waited together.  Those are not the planned kind of gatherings, but they do become sweet blessings because they add to the depth of my life as I reflect on the joy of having a family who can hold hands and run to God’s Throne together.  Years ago I may have regretted spending my birthday at the hospital, but not this year.  It’s a reminder that every day’s outcome is how you view it.  This was all orchestrated by God’s hands, allowing us to have planned a trip home at this particular time.  Only God knew why we needed to be here.

My birthday was filled with blessings and my heart is full.  One last blessing is the growth of my blog.  Thank you to each of you who read my posts regularly.  Thank you to those who have followed me recently. Thanks to those of you who comment and encourage me. I am amazed that others read what I’ve written, but I’m so very grateful!  I trust that as the year progresses, God will grant wisdom and help to make this worth reading each day.

What blessings would you recount on your birthday?  If you haven’t, start making a list in a journal today!

Another year older, but even more blessed,

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Friday Favorites -My Old Kentucky Home

Who doesn’t love a marker birthday celebration that includes a destination gathering, a train ride, family time, delicious food and shopping? All that encapsulated last weekend for us! We celebrated my mom’s 80th birthday a few months early, since January is typically icy and cold. What fun we had!

We rode the Kentucky dinner train in Bardstown, Kentucky. Afterwards we shopped in the adorable downtown. Below you’ll see the whole trip.

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The drive from my parent’s home to Bardstown had lots of beauty – a castle, a bridge PAINTED on the side of a building, and of course, the horse farms!

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I love my parents dearly, and these pictures show how special they are, and how much they love each other.  My mom does NOT look 80, and my dad is so handsome in his blue jeans and jacket!  If parents could get the “cutest couple award” they would win in my book!

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The food was very good!  I had the Kentucky Hot Brown and Kentucky Derby Pie (it seemed like the obvious choice when riding My Old KY Dinner Train!).  My husband said he definitely made the right choice with the Pot Roast dinner.

 

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The folks doing the dinner graciously adorned my mom’s Apple Dumpling with a candle so we could sing to her!  I love this shot of her blowing out her candle.

My husband and I ate with my sister, Sharee and her husband and enjoyed time to visit as we journeyed down the track and ate lunch.  My twin and her husband were at my parent’s table, but we were just across the aisle, so visiting with them was no problem!

161020_073609_collage-1.jpgThis is in downtown Bardstown – a city named one of the South’s best small towns by Southern Living Magazine!  One boutique, Shaq and Coco was so much fun to shop in!  I found a pair of $125 boots for $25!    The whole downtown was quaint and inviting!161020_073835_collage-1.jpg

When we left Kentucky and headed home, we had all kinds of gorgeous views as you’ll see below.  We even saw an outdoor wedding taking place!  We had all kinds of fun making our way home – turning up country roads just “to see what’s back there!”

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Before we moved to Tennessee nearly 16 years ago, I wanted to move back to Kentucky so badly.  The central area is just so beautiful.  But I am happy as can be where we are and I still get to go visit often and enjoy all the beauty and southern charm of Kentucky.  The best part is that my family lives there, so it will always be “My Old Kentucky Home.”

This weekend is another kind of celebration and we’re gearing up in a big way!  I’ll tell you about it next week!  In the meantime, tell me what you did last week that was memorable and refreshing to you!

Stay refreshed,

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