Family life · memories · Refreshment · Vacation tips

The Grace Gift of a Family Vacation

Who doesn’t LOVE going to Pigeon Forge in the Smokey Mountains?! Last weekend we were blessed to gather there for a family vacation. After all the restrictions, I have truly rejoiced each time a planned event actually gets to happen! This time away was our 2020 Christmas gift to our children and their spouses, so we’ve been planning this for many months. What a precious time it was and how full our hearts are after four days and three nights together! This is hard, but I’m just going to share five highlights of the many fun moments we shared.

We opted to have all but one meal in our condo. We divided up the days and mealtimes and each contributed food for that meal. The first night we made it easy and brought pizza in since we had just checked in an hour before. I added a salad to round out the menu. Here is everyone (except my husband who’s taking the picture) at the table. We were a happy clan!

Whitney and I both have September birthdays, so we celebrated with a delicious Lemon-Raspberry Cake from Blackbird Bakery in Bristol, VA. How special to have the whole family there to celebrate with us! That in itself was a precious gift!

For a little added fun, we had a game competition that lasted the whole weekend. That was Whitney’s idea and it turned out to be a great plan! We played Sorry, Dutch Blitz, Spot it, Miniature Golf, Scrabble and Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza. That last game is hilarious and great for a crowd!!!

I loved our game time because it kept us connected even at hours when we were really tired. Instead of scrolling on our phones, we were playing games, laughing ourselves silly, and pushing up our competitive sleeves to gain more points on the scoreboard! Whitney kept an ongoing tally of the winner and second place contestant of each game, and then awarded the first and second place champions on Monday morning. Who do you think won???? Keep reading!

it was really great that the condo has a putt-putt course on site. Beside it is a playground, and just up the way was the pool. It was all literally outside our door! Our little guys enjoyed all of those fun activities and the Lord was gracious to give us beautiful days in which to enjoy it all.

We had several special times in God’s Word and prayer as a family. How sweet to gather together to thank the Lord and also leave our burdens and requests. I’m so thankful for a family who loves Jesus. Equally special was seeing individuals open the Bible in their own little space and spend time with the Lord before our day began. Yes, my heart is full.

I’m not boasting and don’t desire to make you envious of our family time. It was truly a gift from the Lord and we praise Him for it. There are heartaches and burdens, needs and concerns in our family, just like in yours. How precious to be reminded even this week that as the Lord heard Hezekiah’s prayer and told him that He saw his tears, our God hears us and sees our tears, too.

Whatever may be grieving your heart today, refresh your spirit by remembering that the Lord cares and is at work in your life. Cry to Him as Hezekiah did, then watch to see how He will comfort you.

I pray your weekend is refreshing as you fellowship with believers and worship our great God!

Oh, wait…the first place winner of our game competition was Alli, and anyone who knows our family will not be surprised at that! Second place was awarded to her equally competitive mother!

What are some ways you keep everyone connected during family times?

Celebrations · Family life · Marriage

The Best Anniversary Celebration

Last weekend our sweet daughters planned the most lovely early 40th anniversary celebration for my husband and me! Their gift to us was a family photo session with some great photographers from our area.

Plan A was to go to a park in our area, but the day turned out very wet.
Enter Plan B!
We used our newly decorated family room’s lovely blue wall as our backdrop! It ended up being really great (God’s interruptions always are!). I’ll share just a few of my favorite photos from the day.

Our twin grandsons were so cooperative and full of smiles!
I couldn’t ask for sweeter daughters. They are so dear to me.

This next photo is from our wedding day, June 20, 1981!

Forty years ago! And now…
Current!

Lots of things have changed, but Dale’s fun-loving spirit is not one of them!

After the family poses were all taken, the photographers invited each couple to come outside and stand in the rain under their giant umbrella for some really great rainy day shots! I love this one of Paul and Whitney!

And Alli and Andrew…

Look at the rain droplets!

Here are the “Oldie-weds!”

After a delicious lunch at Carrabba’s, we went to Alli and Andrew’s for dessert, consisting of a scrumptious Strawberry Cake. Whitney decorated for the party in her typical flare. It was so much fun and so pretty!

We can hardly believe we are staring 40 years in the face, but we are so thankful. God has been faithful, spite our old sin natures and imperfect love, He has guided us, provided for us and grown us. We pray that the years we have remaining will find us pointing others to the glorious Gospel where Jesus demonstrated the perfect sacrificial love, forgiveness, mercy, kindness, grace, and submission.

Here’s praise for (almost) 40 years!

Fall · memories · Refreshment

Bye, September, That Was Fun!

Just like the leaves scattered on my walking path, September has left some special memories of events and happenings during the month. Here are the photos from some of the blessings of those thirty days.

I had the blessing of speaking at two different ladies’ events last month. After pouring over God’s Word and seeking God’s direction in my study, it’s such a joy to my heart to get to teach women Truth from the Scriptures. Both events were so well planned out, and I believe all the ladies were just so thankful to have an opportunity to gather together. Things were different, of course, but it was still such a blessing to share this time with these precious ladies!

My husband traveled with me to the first event, and then my dear friend traveled with me to the second one. She’s a jewel, carrying my belongings, tending to any need, and also mingling with the women and serving them so well.

Then we were blessed to get to gather in Asheville as a family to celebrate Whitney’s birthday. Spite the fact that we ate outside in an alley with the cool winds whipping around our feet, we had a great time! We made the best of it by wrapping up with blankets retrieved from the car and later warming ourselves over dessert served outside of Starbucks with coffee and sunshine!

That same week we were saddened by the hospitalization of my dear dad, but thankful to the Lord that he came home after a two-night stay. These photos were the evening of the day he was discharged. How blessed we are for every day together, every dish of ice cream shared, every conversation spoken. God answered our prayers and we are rejoicing!

The next weekend took us to Pennsylvania where my husband had the joy of preaching at the installation of a dear friend as he assumed role as pastor at a church there. This church had been without a pastor for three years, so they were so excited. Our friend and his wife had been praying about returning back to ministry after a few years of rest. What a blessing to see how God prepared the way for all this to happen. My husband got to give the charge to the new pastor. We shared sweet fellowship with them in their home.

The fall colors were beautiful and we took some scenic routes and enjoyed the journey!

September had lots of miles, lots of memories, and so many blessings! Our hearts are full and thankful!

What was your best adventure in September?

I hope you’ll refresh yourself in a Bible preaching church this Sunday!

Family life · Meal planning

Meal Management

I have a love for anything to do with the kitchen.  I love to cook and bake.  I love to try new recipes.  I love to set a pretty table. I love to work around a time schedule. I love to feed hungry people. I love to fill my table with people and good food where God is thanked and lives are encouraged just because they shared a meal at our table.

However, I know not everyone feels the same and for varied reasons:

It’s a struggle to cook a meal that everyone will eat.  

It’s hard to find the time to prepare.

It’s overwhelming to clean up the mess afterwards.

It’s intimidating to invite people over.

I Cor. 10:31 reminds us that our eating and whatever we do should glorify God.  That would include meal preparation.

What that doesn’t mean:

Everything has to be made from scratch.

Everything has to look it was prepared by a Food Network chef.

That you can’t take help from quick foods.

That you can’t ever go out to eat.

That you have to fix a different meal for everyone in the family.

What it does mean:

  1. God should be honored in your heart attitude about meal prep.  Remember Martha begrudging her work?
  2. It’s more about the people we’re serving than trying to impress them. We;re filling a need.
  3. Because we’re the managers, we must plan ahead so we’ll be able to prepare in advance.

Remember our mantra – We must plan our work and work our plan!  This applies maybe even greater when dealing with meals and with food preparation!

  1. Prioritize eating together at the table. If you’re not doing this much at all,  why not plan on having supper as a family at least three nights a week?  Or bump up what you’re doing to five nights a week.   

    Elevate the ordinary to something sacred. This simply means to make it highly valued and important. Here are a few simple ways to do that:

    Quiet hearts by turning on soft music. 
    Make the table inviting. 
    Add placemats or a tablecloth, napkins and all three pieces of silverware.
    Put something pretty in the middle of the table.  A pitcher with flowers.  A candle. Add conversation starter cards to the centerpiece. 
    Make it fun
    . Laugh at the table.  Teach manners.  Talk. Listen.  Slow down.  Sit back. Read a chapter book together at the end of the meal. Sing a hymn. Pray.

Memories are made around the table. Some of my favorite memories of my girls’ childhood revolve around events and conversations around a meal we shared together. We all remember the evening there was “blue milk” on the table (let’s just say there might have been a little too much laughter!).

This one habit can strengthen your home in so many ways.

But how do we get it done? Next Wednesday we’ll talk about the management part and how to simplify the process. But for now, will you just ask the Lord to help you make family mealtime (one meal a day) a priority? Apply one or more of the ways I shared to elevate the ordinary to something sacred.

Refresh mealtime at your house this week!
If you’ve missed any of this series, you can find the other posts here.

children · Family life · home · Husband · Motherhood · Wife's Role

Family Friday – Family Time

 

Family Time.

Mother-Daughter Time

Mother-Son Time

Date night

Conversation time

We all want to spend time with our family, but we’re so busy with everything else going on in our world, how do we do it?

How do we respond when so many others need/want our moments, hours and days, yet we long for more time with our husband?  More time pouring into our children?  Here are some points to ponder when you consider how yo will spend your days:

  1. Establish an eternal perspective.  How will this decision effect eternity?  If it won’t, then is it pressing right now or should I do something else?
  2. Remember when you say “yes” to someone, you’re saying “no” to someone else. Who should I be saying “no” to?  Is this person in my priority order?
  3. Respond to each opportunity on the basis of how it will affect your ability to fulfill your current obligations. Will doing this make it more difficult to do what I have to get done today?  Will doing this help me accomplish what is before me?
  4. Try to do only the right things for the right reasons at the right times in the right seasons.

clock a

Now, how will you spend TIME with your family this weekend?  Perhaps you should start by asking yourself these four questions, then make decisions about what you will/should do!

Your family opportunities won’t be there forever! Grab them while you can!

Refresh your family time,

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