"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

Posts tagged ‘family’


If you are like me—and I suspect you are—you can look around your home at any given time and see the “evidence” of the people who share that home with you.

Sometimes the clues are kind of cute.

Oh, did you need to use the stairs? Sorry, those are taken.

You didn’t want your laptop, did you? I’m kind of using it.

Pie? What pie? What makes you think I touched the pie?

Other times, those “clues” are not really that cute at all. Like the other day when our four year old went to the bathroom (and I mean REALLY went to the bathroom) and then decided to do us a big favor and clean the toilet…only she forgot to flush it first. (That was not on the list of why Amy smiles. And don’t worry, I didn’t take a picture.) She was just trying to be helpful, but…  AGGGHHHH!!!!!

Finding sticky spots on the floor, dirty dishes in the sink, shoes all over the living room, and crumbs on the couch are all evidence of the people who live in this house. And while I don’t exactly consider those things fun to find, I do try to remind myself often that these are simply signs that I am surrounded daily by the people I love the most.

I will always remember sitting in a Bible class one Wednesday night and listening to an older lady who had lost her husband. Her advice to those who were married was this: “Be thankful every time you have to bend down and pick up your husband’s dirty socks from the floor. He may not have thrown them in the hamper the way you’d have liked, but be glad he’s still around to get them dirty.” I think I was in junior high that year, so of course it didn’t apply to me then. But to this day I still think about her wise words when I catch myself gritting my teeth as I clean up a mess I didn’t make. Because she’s right: I would rather have them AND their messes than to not have either!

Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
    but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

(Proverbs 14:4)

I hope you are smiling as you look around at the “evidence” of your loved ones …even if it’s on your floor. Aren’t they worth it?

Thanks for stopping by!


Good, clean fun

Shhhhh…..Can you keep a secret?

The kiddos in one of our homeschool groups enjoyed a fun, end-of-the-school-year party last week. Since our family does school year round, I made sure to keep that “end-of-the-year” part quiet (and you will, too, right?!) but we were all about the party part! Here are the kids that were present that day, after they were all thoroughly slimed from the games we played:

We started the event by loading them up on pizza…

…followed by some red velvet cupcakes to celebrate our sweet friend’s birthday. (Happy birthday, Ellen!)

Then we headed outside for some silly games, beginning with the old standby—sack races.

We started with the littlest racers…

…who really had absolutely no idea what was going on…

…followed by the bigger kids…

…and then, even the teens got in on the action. Those teens can jump, too!

Actually, the adults got in on this activity, as well. I will not be posting pictures of our race. (Let’s just leave it at that.)

Next up were some funny relays.

Next it was time to pass out the eggs. Again, the little ones didn’t have a clue what was up, but they’re such good sports they just went along anyway!

And they are ready for the spoon relay!

Then it was time for the egg toss. Of all the games we played, I can’t say for sure which was the most fun for the kids…but this one definitely provided me with the most hilarious pictures. They started out close together…

…and gradually spread apart. Notice their funny faces as they try to catch their eggs!

Look at E’s face (and look at her hands to see why)!

After the egg toss, it was time to cool down with some snow cones before our next round of games.

This is where things started to get really messy. Thankfully, the moms who planned it had the foresight to bring old T-shirts for the kids to wear. We started with a couple of brave volunteers:

Then we added a very willing decorating committee…

Time for some new volunteers…

I knew it wouldn’t take much looking on my part to find someone who was eating the ammunition. Yep—that would be K.

So, what do you do with a face like this?

You trust your friends to lend a helping hand…

Finally, we broke out the Silly String. I should add that by this point the kids were soaked and slimed from the shaving cream and the water used attempting to wash it off, as well as some raw egg here and there…all of which made a nice, sticky canvas for the Silly String…

Apparently, a couple of the boys found the discarded shaving cream cans, too.

I loved watching siblings play together. I loved watching kids of such different ages enjoying each other, helping each other, and loving each other. I loved the big smiles on the faces of parents and children alike. I loved that it was all good, clean fun.

Here we all are…hot, sweaty, and exhausted. And happy. And very, very thankful.

Not because the school year is over…but because we were able to experience it. Together.

Thanks for stopping by!

I wasn’t looking for these

Those of you who visit here regularly see a lot of our youngest daughter, Remington. At age three, it seems everything that rolls off her lips is funny, and she’s definitely the most willing of all our kiddos to pose for the camera.

But don’t misunderstand.

Our other three children may not be as likely to get in front of the camera, or to allow me to post the absolutely hilarious things THEY say…but they definitely make me smile. Every. Single. Day. I am so thankful for all three of them, too!

Take Addison, for example.

This morning I came downstairs to find this on the dining room table:

It was a surprise from Addy…a little gift for no reason at all…and it has been making me smile all day long.

Then, there’s Chandler.

With the smile still on my face from finding Addy’s bouquet, I ran upstairs to put something in Chandler’s bedroom, and I found this on his whiteboard:

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10)

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10)

I’m not sure what prompted it, but he wrote it right by his desk where he’ll see it continuously…and it’s making me smile.

And, let’s not forget Connor.

If you enter his room the first thing you’ll see is this:

He assures me it’s “just a silly drawing.” And clearly, it’s not something he spent a great deal of time on. But even though it wasn’t created for artistic purposes, the fact that a “silly” picture of his family is something he wanted to frame and hang in a prominent position in his room just makes me—you guessed it—SMILE! (And how could I not be happy about the title?)

My favorite smiles are the ones that I wasn’t even looking for. I hope you are noticing all the many things that have the potential to make you smile today. They are everywhere! As usual, I’d love to hear about them in the comments. (Hint, hint…)

Thanks for stopping by!

Faith and Freckles

In our family, we often giggle about the way our 3-year-old daughter’s prayers tend to get all muddled up.

For example, I once said, “Don’t forget to pray for Daddy to be safe on the road. He’s doing a lot of driving today.” Her prayer?

“God, please don’t let Daddy fall out of the car while he’s driving it.”

When I asked her to remember her big brother during the first day of his new job, she prayed,

“Please, God, don’t let anyone steal Chandler while he’s at work.”

We laugh, but in reality some of those little-girl prayers show a whole lot of faith. Like when she prayed,

“Dear God, Thank you for the dog…that we don’t have.”

She often thanks God for funny things, but usually they’re things we actually have. Like fingernails. Or paper. We laughed about the dog…the one we didn’t have, but that she was thankful for anyway. We laughed harder when she started praying for the unknown dog by name.

We laughed, but you know what? Here we are, just a couple of weeks later, introducing to you the newest member of our family.

Meet Freckles, our new Border Collie…

And yes, she actually has freckles, so she fits in perfectly with our family.

Pray in faith, friends!

Thanks for stopping by.

One year of smiles

It’s been a year now.

One year exactly since I started this blog.

One year of sharing my thoughts, my ideas, my goals, and even my insecurities with you here.

One year of showing off my favorite people: my precious family.

One year of challenges, quotes, funny stories, and lessons learned.

One year of hoping I’ve made you smile.

In that year I’ve published 134 posts. (That’s roughly equivalent to a post every two and a half days. Each one contains at least one photograph. This one had ONLY a photo—nothing else.)

My goal with each post has been to remind you—and myself—that there is so much to be thankful for, to laugh at, to smile about.  My desire has been to challenge you—and myself—to look for those reasons to smile, to appreciate the little things, to be thankful both for simple pleasures and huge blessings.

Thank you for coming along with me on this year-long ride. If it’s God’s will, I’ll keep writing. I’ll  wonder some days who’s reading. I’ll question what I’ve written. But I’ll keep writing, nonetheless. I’ll watch for your comments, and they will make me smile.

I hope you’ll keep smiling, too.

Thanks for stopping by!

I am thankful

Something about autumn and harvest time encourages me to  dwell on all the things I’m thankful for.

Today, I am thankful that we’ve had two days in a row that were beautiful and sunny (which we’re used to) and cool enough to keep the windows open ALL day (which we’re definitely NOT used to).

Today I enjoyed pulling out the ingredients to make hot chocolate (with milk, of course, and marshmallows) and drinking my first cup of the season…and I was thankful for all the small things in life that bring such big happiness.

Today I am thankful that I’m blessed to be home with my babies…

…and that we are in the position to be able to take off right in the middle of the day to go visit the pumpkin patch, just because it’s  beautiful outside.

Today I am thankful that we had the whole place to ourselves, which meant great photo ops and plenty of room to run around.

Today I am thankful for my sweet family, and the many ways they bless my life every day.

Today I am thankful for all of you who take time in your busy day to read my blog. I know your time is precious and I appreciate you.

Their final picks

And you know what? I think it would be so encouraging to hear what you’re thankful for today, too.  So please, leave me a comment below, even if you never have before. (It’s easy!)

Thanks for stopping by!

What I learned at PTP (Part 3)

Here it is, the third and final post of some things I learned at Polishing the Pulpit. Yes, I know I’ve shared a LOT from this seminar in my last several entries, but there are some things that I learned there that are just too profound not to share, like Joe Wells’ penetrating observation,

“Modesty isn’t a hemline; it’s a heart line.”

(Girlfriends, let’s all chew on that for a while! What does our level of modesty reveal about our hearts?)

Here are some other goodies that had an impact on me…..

From “A Deeper Life: Making Time for Prayer & Devotion in the Busy Years of Life” by Irene Taylor:

You’ll never find the time. MAKE the time!

“Don’t just take up a pew!”

In the courtyard during one of the nightly teen devotionals

(Note: All photos in today’s post are from the PTP blog.)

From “Loving God with all my Soul” by Dan Winkler:

Arrows go where you point them. (All children are born as straight arrows.)

Trust and obey…then teach and relay.

VBS-type classes for the kiddos

From “God Wants to Give us Joy…But He Doesn’t Always Want us to be Happy” by B.J. Clarke:

Sin brings temporary happiness…but it never brings JOY.

(Mr. Clark used the biblical example of David, who was undoubtedly experiencing happiness while committing adultery with Bathsheba. But, Psalm 51:8, 12 shows it hadn’t brought him joy.)

Sin says, “I’ll make you happy!” God says, “Let me give you something to REALLY be happy about!”

Thankful for energetic and enthusiastic teachers

From “The Importance of Family Bible Time” by Luverne Shepherd:

The less we teach, the more sin will engulf.

The greatest hindrance that keeps us from giving time to our family is that our family is not a top priority with us.

What could be more important than instilling the word of God in our children?

If our family is truly important to us, nothing in this world can stop us from spending family Bible time together.

The home is the University of Life. Who are the professors? Parents! (Children are NOT the professors.) Who are the students? Our children. (Enroll them early!) What is the curriculum? The Word of God. (See Deuteronomy 6:6-7.)

You never know when you are making a memory with your children.

And one funny aside from Mrs. Shepherd:

They may have taken prayer out of our schools. But as long as tests and examinations are being given, I can assure you that prayers are being offered in those schools!

Informative talks for packed crowds

I wish I could share Eric Lyons’ fascinating presentation on “The Moral Argument for God.” It would likely eliminate your doubts. I wish I could tell you all about Todd Clippard’s enlightening workshop, “Should Christians Drink Beer?” and B.J. Clarke’s inspirational talk, “Distracted by Good Things: Regaining Your Family’s Focus.”

PTP was an intense experience. Thanks for letting me share it with you here.

And, thanks for stopping by!

Check out all these PTP-related posts:

What exactly is PTP?

PTP highlights

What I learned at PTP (Part 1)

What I learned at PTP (Part 2)

Our Great Smokey Mountains Adventure

Traveling Smiles

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