Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Making Memories

We arrived home tonight after a week long trip to Branson, Missouri. We traveled 17 hours in our mini-van each way. I know that sounds crazy but we love to travel as a family! It was a wonderful trip, honestly. The kids are such good travelers and we are so thankful for portable DVD players! 

As I look back over the past week, a hundred different memories fill my mind. I think that's why I love traveling so much. Not only is it fun for everyone, it gives us a chance to create lasting memories! 


Today I am grateful for the opportunity to rent our home during furniture market each April and October. It's because of this that we are able to go on vacations two times per year. We would never be able to afford these trips otherwise. Preparing for market is so much work but it is definitely worth it! I am also thankful for the many memories we are making as a family. It's so nice to spend several days focused on each other and having fun together. Some of my favorite memories are from our travels. I am grateful God has blessed our family with the ability to see the world He created. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Beauty in the Ozarks

Today when we woke up in Branson, MO it was snowing!! We did not expect this type of weather when planning for this trip but thankfully, we brought along coats. Even though it was super cold, we decided to go ahead with our outdoor plans since the Top of the Rock will be closed the rest of the week. I am so glad we didn't let the weather stop our fun! 

We traveled on a golf cart on the most lovely trail. It was freezing cold but the lady that helped us found the only covered golf cart for us to use. That was such a blessing! The wind would have been terrible without it. Even though we were chilly, the ride was very enjoyable and absolutely beautiful. As a lover of all waterfalls, this is definitely one of my favorite places we've visited. The falls were incredible. We also drove through a cave and saw the waterfalls inside the mountain---amazing!

Today I am grateful for such a wonderful time enjoying God's creations with my family. There is just something about those rocks and the waterfalls, it truly took my breath away. All of it just causes me to worship the Creator of so much beauty. I am also thankful for the covered golf cart and blankets from the gift shop that helped make the trail ride bearable. It would have been miserable without those but it really was a fun time, even in the 35 degree weather. Today was a wonderful day together as a family. What a sweet gift this time away is!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Lessons Learned in the Strangest of Places

Today we were driving toward Branson, MO when we realized we would be traveling through Memphis, TN. We aren't huge Elvis fans but how often does one get the chance to visit Graceland? So, we decided to take a pit stop and visit the mansion of the King of Rock and Roll! 

That's the mansion, right behind  us 

We couldn't seem to get all of us in the picture


The Living Room

A portrait of Elvis

The Dining Room

The Media Room

The Billiards Room

This cross is located close to the gravesides of Elvis and his parents
There is also a memorial for his twin brother that was still born

Elvis' tombstone
It was moved to Graceland because people wouldn't leave him alone, even in death

I never, ever thought I would be at Graceland!

See Tyson hiding in there?
Tyson didn't want to be in another picture

This was a spontaneous stop for us! We never thought we would end up at Graceland but I'm honestly very grateful we made this stop! I'm telling you, God speaks to me all the time through the strangest of situations! As I walked around Graceland, learning more about who Elvis was, I was so convicted by my opinion of him previously. I didn't think badly really, but I just assumed he was a shallow man who loved women, money, and rock and roll. I also assumed he died of a drug overdose but he actually passed away because a heart attack most likely caused by an allergic reaction to codeine, taken because of dental work. All that I've ever seen of him was a "show" really, according to those who really knew him. Elvis was a truly kind , humble man. He was a humanitarian and a family man. He even said the best times he ever had were at Graceland with his family. 

It's interesting how we (humans)  tend to make quick assumptions about other people. Why do we do that? I don't think I'm typically a judgmental person but today, as I learned about Elvis, I felt like I had judged him all wrong. God used that to make me think twice about assuming I know anything. Honestly, we are all more than meets the eye. People are complex and dynamic! God made us with so many amazing traits and facets to our personalities. Yes, Elvis was the King of Rock and Roll and he was an incredible performer, but Graceland focused a little more on WHO he was, instead of how the world viewed him, and I was grateful to learn more about the real Elvis.

What a great lesson my Father taught me Graceland of all places. My prayer is that God would help me see others the way He does and today, I feel like I got a glimpse of the man God created Elvis to be.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Seeking and Finding...

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:13

I always enjoy Easter! Not only do we celebrate our Risen Savior and spend time with family, but I also have so many wonderful childhood memories of Easter. I remember eating lunch at my grandparent's house each year and then having egg hunts with my cousins outside. I say "hunts" because we hid those eggs and found them over and over and over again. There was no candy involved. In fact, we used the hard boiled eggs my grandmother had dyed for Easter. The eggs would get cracked and smooshed and started making a big mess but we didn't care! We had so much fun with those smelly things!

Ready for the Egg Hunt!
Yesterday, we had lunch at my brother's house and then hid tons of Easter eggs for the kids to find. I loved watching them hunt for eggs and recalling all the egg hunts from my past.

Isn't it funny how we hide the eggs for children? We do put them places almost out of sight, but we are very careful to make sure they can be found. And for the youngest of hunters, we put them right out in the middle of the yard where they can't be missed. Yesterday during our church service someone pointed out that God does just the same for us. We think He is hidden, sometimes we feel He cannot be found, but if we open our eyes and truly seek Him, we WILL find Him. He can't be missed, actually.

Today I am grateful for for the sacrifice Jesus made for us, for the resurrection of our Lord, for the gift of the Holy Spirit, and for the hope of Heaven! Easter is such a sweet day of celebration!! I am also thankful that the Word promises that if we seek our Lord we will find Him! Yesterday my niece was hiding eggs by burying them in the dirt. It made me think, if God really wanted to hide Himself from us, He could! He could hide so well we would never, ever find Him. He chooses to be found. He desires for us to seek Him and He will never deny us the opportunity to find Him. Now, that's good news!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Revival in HopeCity Kids!

 For the past weeks in HopeCity Kids we've been learning to Recognize the Father's Voice. I know to some folks that my sound odd but yes, the Father does talk to all of His children and yes, even the youngest person can hear Him! Teaching our children to recognize His voice has been amazing! I love being a part of this ministry!

Worship in HopeCity Kids
Learning how Jesus' blood washes away sin.

We got a glimpse of this adorable sight passing by during our small
group time. I just had to include the picture....its too cute not to!
Do you see my baby girl?

These 3 boys prayed to accept Christ as their Savior today during small group.

Fun times with friends and board games!
Did your "Sunday School" class look like this?

From the first time we dropped our kids off in the kids area at HopeCity, we've been incredibly grateful that our children get to be a part of this ministry. Now, Bryan and I serve as the Kindergarten and First Grade teachers during our 11am service. So not only are thankful that our children are a part of HopeCity kids but we are so blessed to be a part of it also! This week alone, in the kid's area, 8 boys and girls gave their lives to Jesus and one more boy prayed for salvation in the parking lot! We've been hearing the kids talk about things God is saying to them which fills my heart with so much joy. We've also seen our own children grow in wisdom with spiritual things...they are listening when the Father speaks to them! Revival is happening in HopeCity kids!

They always say that serving often blesses the server more than the served...its so true in this case. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve in this ministry and be a part of all that God is doing in HopeCity kids. Things are happening and its so good! My heart is so full and its only just begun!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

An Easter Experience

Tonight we enjoyed an interactive Easter experience at church. It was really fun and exciting and brought the Easter story to life for the kids. As a family we discussed the meaning of Palm Sunday, communion, washing the feet of the disciples, the 30 pieces of silver, the crown of thorns, Jesus dying on the cross, the veil being torn, the tomb of Jesus, and the resurrection. It was wonderful to spend time discussing these things in detail and praying together as a family. It was really amazing to hear the thoughts of our little guys as we went to each station. Dylan and Evan said they had so much fun!

Today I am grateful for these wonderful family experiences our church provides. It's so important to us to spend time focusing on the importance the Easter season but it's honestly snuck up on me this year so tonight was the perfect start to our family celebrations.  I'm also thankful for sweet moments with my family learning all about our Jesus. 

Making Memories

We arrived home tonight after a week long trip to Branson, Missouri. We traveled 17 hours in our mini-van each way. I know that sounds craz...